Tags: congress | interns | nondisclosure | agreements

Capitol Hill Interns Required to Sign Nondisclosure Agreements

Capitol Hill Interns Required to Sign Nondisclosure Agreements
(Susan Walsh/AP)

By    |   Monday, 05 March 2018 12:16 PM

Many interns for Democratic and Republican legislators in Congress must sign nondisclosure agreements, according to Vox.

Lawyers told Vox that the agreements do not offer exceptions for reporting on sexual harassment, discrimination, or abuse. In many cases, the NDAs stay in effect after the interns leave the congressional jobs, Vox reported.

"(Interns) are going to read it and think, 'I can't say anything to anyone or I'm going to be sued,'" employment lawyer Alexis Ronickher told Vox.

"It's politics, and everyone is paranoid that any information could be used against them —they want to have the most broadly worded one so (interns) don't say anything," Ronickher added.

Employment lawyers who reviewed the NDAs for the Vox report said they were concerned about the scope of the language in them, as well as the fact that interns are not guaranteed to receive copies of the documents they have signed.

Twenty current and former interns told Vox they signed the agreements while working in the House and Senate. Five congressional offices confirmed that interns were required to sign the agreements.

An aide for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., told the website the NDA is "standard practice aimed at protecting routine confidential information pertaining to the office's duties."

One woman who interned in the summer of 2017 when she was 21 showed Vox text messages one of her superiors sent, inviting her to his house alone. She did not report the incident, however, because of concerns over professional repercussions.

"Nondisclosure agreements are about following the rules … and not rocking the boat is about following the rules," she told Vox.

Gillibrand in February called on the Senate to revamp workplace anti-harassment policies on Capitol Hill. 

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Many interns for Democratic and Republican legislators in Congress must sign nondisclosure agreements.
congress, interns, nondisclosure, agreements
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2018-16-05
Monday, 05 March 2018 12:16 PM
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