Volume 18, 2021
Shafik Bhalloo, Kathleen Burke
Considering the Costs of Signing an NDA
A Case of Workplace Sexual Harassment and Assault
With her heavy-equipment operator certification in hand, Fiona is a new hire on a construction crew; the only woman in a family-owned organization aside from the HR manager, the sister of the company president and vice-president. Soon after her hire, the president of the company began a pattern of sexually targeting Fiona. She went to great lengths to avoid her boss, but the harassment and assaults continued. After one incident, Fiona reported the abuse to the company VP who offered her a financial settlement in exchange for her silence. Fiona thought speaking out would put an end to the strain the abuse had caused, but other dilemmas had just begun. The case allows students to examine the competing interests Fiona faces in deciding whether to accept a financial settlement from her employer, that would greatly help her family, but at the cost of signing a non-disclosure agreement.