In less than a week, presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg completely changed his tune regarding non-disclosure agreements at his company. The credit for this swift change goes to none other than Sen. Elizabeth Warren after she shone a precise and unrelenting spotlight on the issue at last Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas and refused to let it go.
Several lawsuits have been filed over the years against Bloomberg’s company by women blaming him for fostering a culture of sexual harassment and degradation, reports The Washington Post. Warren pulled no punches when she called the purpose of these NDAs into question. She asked why Bloomberg was unwilling to release women in his company from the agreements if their stories were as unharmful to his reputation, as he claimed. At the Las Vegas debate, Bloomberg maintained that all of the NDAs were signed consensually, adding, “They signed those agreements, and we’ll live with it.” To Warren, that answer wasn’t good enough and she kept after it, even offering to write a template release agreement herself.
In a statement released Friday, Bloomberg said his company identified three NDAs from women that specifically address complaints about comments he 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. He added that, from now on, his company will no longer offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment and misconduct. Based on Bloomberg’s statement, these three NDAs come from a review of the last 30 years of complaints about harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Bloomberg LP has identified 3 NDAs signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made.— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 21, 2020
If any of them want to be released from their NDAs, they should contact the company and they'll be given a release. https://t.co/bO9JpvSx1T
Days earlier, at the debate, Bloomberg came off as dismissive of the situation. After Warren’s very public callout, he is acknowledging the oppressive nature of preventing people from telling their side of the story in incidents of misconduct and harassment. “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,” Bloomberg’s statement continues.
It appears that Bloomberg’s statement limits the release to just three women. There is no mention of releases for other current and former employees. This release doesn’t account for employees who may have signed NDAs regarding harassment coming from other people at the company, not just Bloomberg himself.