Confidentiality, nondisparagement, or nondisclosure provisions; communication with law-enforcement. (SB1423)

Introduced By

Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Confidentiality, nondisparagement, or nondisclosure provisions; communication with law-enforcement agencies. Prohibits the use of provisions in contracts, written agreements, or settlement agreements resolving litigation pertaining to the employment of an employee in the Commonwealth, whether labeled as confidentiality, nondisparagement, or nondisclosure provisions, that restrict or deter consumers or employees from communicating or cooperating with a federal, state, or local law-enforcement agency. The bill declares such provisions void and unenforceable as contrary to public policy. A violation with regard to a consumer contract or written agreement is a prohibited practice under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. A violation by an employer with regard to an employment contract or employment settlement agreement is punishable by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry by a civil penalty up to $12,471, as adjusted by the percentage increase, if any, in the United States Average Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, from its monthly average for the previous calendar year. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/19 19104315D
01/08/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/23/2019Committee amendments
01/23/2019Failed to report (defeated) in Courts of Justice (7-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)


Crystal Briscoe writes:

Senator Howell,

In my opinion, nondisclosure provisions are understandably necessary to protect trade secrets/proprietary information/intellectual property, etc. Confidentiality provisions are also necessary but should be restricted to things identified as confidential. However, nondisparagement provisions clearly violate our first amendment rights, and communication with law enforcement agents in the event of a crime or suspected crime should always be protected. I would suggest that you revise the bill to only address nondisparagement provisions (except in cases where the person receipt a significant sum of money to keep quiet)and resubmit it, as anyone can see that this is a form of oppression and a violation of civil rights. Of course, communication with law enforcement should always be allowed.