Michael Bloomberg to release female employees from gag orders
|bbc.com 21 Feb 2020 at 16:45|
Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg has bowed to pressure to release former female employees from non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
He said his company would void three NDAs "with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made".
His Democratic White House rivals have been pounding away at him over the issue.
Critics of NDAs argue these legal gag orders on employees cover up workplace misconduct.
"If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they ll be given a release," Mr Bloomberg said in a statement on Friday.
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"I ve done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days and I ve decided that for as long as I m running the company, we won t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward."
He added: "I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported."
Mr Bloomberg is one of eight contenders remaining in the race to become the Democratic party s presidential candidate who will take on President Donald Trump, a Republican, in November s election.
During a live TV debate on Wednesday in Las Vegas, one rival, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, criticised Mr Bloomberg as "a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians ".
She also challenged him to release female employees from the NDAs, but he declined.
Stepping up her attack a day later, Ms Warren, a law professor, said she had even drafted a contract for Mr Bloomberg to sign to release women who accuse him of misconduct from their NDAs.