Disclosure of Sexual Harassment Claims Cannot be Restricted in Virginia Confidentiality or Nondisclosure Agreements

Virginia has enacted House Bill 1895, an amendment to the state’s existing employment law regarding confidentiality, nondisclosure, and nondisparagement agreements. 

The existing law, passed in 2019, disallows confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements that restrict an employee’s disclosure of sexual assault. House Bill 1895 further disallows such agreements from restricting the disclosure of sexual harassment claims as a condition of employment.

Key details of House Bill 1895 include the following: 
  • The law now encompasses both “sexual assault” and “sexual harassment” within its provisions. 
  • “Sexual harassment” is defined as unwelcome sexual advances or conduct that affects employment, interferes with work performance, or creates a hostile work environment (as defined in § 30-129.4 of the Code of Virginia). 
  • “Sexual assault” is covered under various provisions addressing offenses such as rape, forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, and sexual battery (refer to § 18.2-61, 18.2-67.1, 18.2-67.3, and 18.2-67.4 of the Code of Virginia). 
  • The law ensures employees are not compelled to sign agreements concealing sexual assault or harassment claims.
  • However, it does not limit other legal or equitable grounds for unenforceability.

We advise that employers review and revise existing agreements to comply with the new law.