One year after Harvey Weinstein revealed that he had silenced his victim by negotiating non-disclosure agreements, the use of the…
One year after Harvey Weinstein revealed that he had silenced his victim by negotiating non-disclosure agreements, the use of the unfair agreements to solve the workplace’s demands for harassment has come back into the spotlight.
Philip Green, the billionaire trader, whose brands include Topshop, was unveiled Thursday as the man who used the courts to prevent a newspaper from reporting allegations that he had sexually harassed and racially assassinated some of his employees.
He was named in the House of Lords by Peter Hain, the former labor minister, as the unmanned businessman who was the focus of a Daily Telegraph story this week.
In the judgment of the Board of Appeal, which granted an interim ban, the Executive Director ̵
1; now revealed to be Sir Philip – would have been subjected to complaints from five persons, all of whom resigned after receiving “significant payments”.  Three made it through the company’s internal investigation procedure and two of the employees when their grounds were dismissed, took separate labor law disputes. All five cases ended after a settlement agreement was concluded, the court said in the appeal.
Sir Philip said in a statement: “I do not comment on anything that has happened in court or in Parliament today. To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of illegal sexual or racist behavior, I categorically and completely deny these claims . “
In July 2018, the telegraph had contacted Sir Philips attorneys to comment on the story it planned to publish and he and his company began prompt legal proceedings in the London Supreme Court to stop the information published because it had been received by telegraph contrary to the trust.
At an early stage, a referee asked the five people who made complaints if they were happy that information about their cases would be published – even if they were not named.
An individual agreed but two said they supported Sir Philips’s application for a ban, which was first held in the High Court in July.
The court hearing took place privately to keep Sir Philips’s identity secret and Justis Haddon Cave refused to give a ban. So Sir Philip went to the Court of Appeal that this week granted an interim ban pending a full review of the case at the beginning of next year.
The provisional prohibition only protected the confidentiality of the information for a period of time until the outcome of the full trial but prevented the telegraph from publishing.
Judges’ judges said on Tuesday that they granted the interim ban at this stage because there was a sufficient chance that Sir Philip defeated some arguments by the telegraph that the publication was of public interest.
“It is not necessary for us to indicate the exact probability of the applicant’s success,” said the three judges.
The three judges who included the Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton also said that the circumstances in the case “give rise to important and difficult political considerations”.
] The judges said they would also consider whether Sir Philip could settle in a trial that the information obtained by the telegraph was obtained contrary to the confidentiality obligation, including in violation of non- -upplysningsavtalen.
They also noted that “the most serious claims about specific and specified incidents are denied by the applicants”.
But Lord Hain’s intervention, which pointed out parliamentary privilege to call Sir Philip, blew out the ban. Sir Philip, unable to reach comments, is now joining a growing list of powerful men accused of abusing his positions in the # MeToo era.
Zelda Perkins, Mr. Weinstein’s former assistant, welcomed Lord Hain’s intervention and said that the green case was a “perfect example of why the NDA is so scary”. Ms. Perkins broke his own NDA with the shamed mogul in a FT interview last year to reveal how he claimed to harass her and a colleague.
“NDA should not be used in cases where there are allegations of harassment at the workplace,” she told FT. “They should be used only for commercial legal purposes … but there is no other place for them. Through their existence at any level, they give some kind of look for bad behavior.”
Workplace disputes should instead go to tribunals she added. “The culture will change if there is no alternative to an NDA. It is a human right to be sure of your workplace and if NGOs are used to hide information that would otherwise be of public interest, that’s wrong.”
] Perkins appeared before a parliamentary committee this year to make the case for legislative change on NGOs. The election committee for women and gender equality concluded its hearings and has recommended changes to the law but has not yet received a response from the government.
Maria Miller, Conservative MEP, as chairman of the committee, urged the government to respond. “The government has our report but we have not received an answer yet so I hope the faster answer … This will be a very pressing thing.”
She added that it was “surprising” given Sir Philips’s appearance ” and the number of people he employed, the Court of Appeal decided that it was not in the public interest to publicly publicize. “
Since his BHS retail chain was killed in 2016, Sir Philip has been active in disputes to protect his reputation.
In July, his lawyers asked the High Court to grant a temporary ban to prevent publication of a full report from account manager to PwC’s review of BHS.
Sir Philips lawyers said that this would allow him to seek a judicial review of the FRC’s decision and they claimed that the report contained criticism that he had not had a proper opportunity to respond to.
It was Peter Hain’s intervention and pointed out parliamentary privilege to call Sir Philip, who blew out the ban [PA659033]