Sunday, 23 February 2020

Bloomberg Releases Three Women From Gag Orders After Debate Demands

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has agreed to release three women from gag orders, caving to pressure from other candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Bloomberg had entered into nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) with the women “to address complaints about comments they said I had made.”
“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,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “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.”
The billionaire got hammered in the Democratic debate on Wednesday.
“What we need to know is exactly what’s lurking out there. He has gotten some number of women, dozens, who knows, to sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said. “So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements, so we can hear their side of the story?”
“We have a very few nondisclosure agreements,” Bloomberg said. “None of them accuse me of doing anything, other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told. And let me just — and let me — there’s agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet and that’s up to them. They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with it.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden piled on. “Look, let’s get something straight here. It’s easy. All the mayor has to do is say, ‘You are released from the nondisclosure agreement,’ period.”
Warren was not content with Bloomberg’s announcement to release three women from their NDAs and suggested hundreds more women could be “muzzled.”
“That’s just not good enough,” Warren told reporters Friday. “Michael Bloomberg needs to do a blanket release so that all women who have been muzzled by nondisclosure agreements can step up and tell their side of the story in terms of what Michael Bloomberg has done.”
“If he wants to be the Democratic nominee and he wants to be the president of the United States, then he’s going to have to be fully transparent on this issue,” Warren said.
See Bloomberg’s full statement below:
I’ve had the company go back over its record and they’ve identified 3 NDAs that we signed over the past 30-plus years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made. 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. 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.
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. It is imperative that when problems occur, workplaces not only address the specific incidents, but the culture and practices that led to those incidents. And then leaders must act.
That is why I am committing to do the following:
All business leaders must recognize that our workplace cultures are our responsibility and leadership on good workplace policies must come from the top. I am proud of Bloomberg LP, the company we have built. But like all workplaces, we should always look to do better. We have a human resources team in place that has always worked at the forefront of industries seeking best practices. I have asked them to consult with experts, as I myself have done in recent days, and review and reform our policies where necessary with regard to equal pay and promotion, sexual harassment and discrimination, and other legal tools that prevent culture change. I want my company to be a model for women seeking opportunity and support in their careers. When we support women in the workplace, we advance not just their own feelings of value, but we help them and their families across America live better lives through higher wages. Our efforts ripple throughout the entire economy.
As president, I will work to pass the Be Heard Act in Congress, which will legislate these needed changes into federal law. I will also support legislative proposals that increase women’s equity in the workplace, including guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid family leave, signing the Paycheck Fairness Act and increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour. And I will ensure that women have access to affordable child care, as well as quality health care and reproductive services. I will continue to encourage business leaders to support women beyond what is mandated by Congress.
I have asked my campaign to review our current policies and to be consistent with these views. There is more we can do when we work together. When we share a respect for each other and treat all of our colleagues as we ourselves would wish to be treated, we all do our best work. This is something Donald Trump does not understand — not when he ran his business, and not now when he is recklessly running our country. I will be a leader whom women can trust.

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