Michael Bloomberg flirts with ending NDAs

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Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg talks to supporters during a campaign appearance, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 in Fayetteville, N.C. (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is working on his relationship with women.

Bloomberg came under fierce criticism last week from Senator Elizabeth Warren during the Nevada Democratic Debate for his and his company’s history of mistreating female employees that have been shielded from public discussion by binding non-disclosure agreements.

On Monday, Diana Taylor, Mayor Bloomberg’s longtime companion, visited El Paso to appeal to the candidate’s female constituents amidst controversy over Mayor Bloomberg’s history of sexism and silencing women.

Taylor made a name for herself on Wall Street during the 1980s and in 2003 was appointed as New York’s superintendent of banks, and has been appealing to female voters around the country. According to the Washington Post, Taylor has resonated with diverse groups of women around the country and is described as being “relatable” to other women despite having a “formidable resume” and vast differences in race, age, and socioeconomic factors.

On Tuesday at a “Women for Mike” event in Dallas, Taylor made a statement in response to concerns over the NDAs enforced by Bloomberg LP.

“It was 30 years ago — get over it,” she said.

According to Business Insider, close to 40 employment lawsuits from 65 plaintiffs have been filed over the course of more than 25 years. Most of the lawsuits center on discrimination over gender, pregnancy, race, and disability, as well as wage theft.

“Harassment tends to be an issue of power and power imbalances. In cases of employment, the person with less power is at risk,” Dr. Gina Nunez, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at UTEP, told KTSM. “Policies and practices that normalize harassment create a culture of silence that encourages harassment in those areas.”

Bloomberg defended his company’s NDA policies and suffered a 20 point blow to his favorability as a candidate among voters, according to a Morning Consult poll. By the end of last week, Bloomberg announced he would be releasing three women from NDAs that previously prohibited publicly speaking about allegations of harassment and misconduct at Bloomberg LP.

But scores of women remain silenced by the legally-binding agreement.

“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.

The former mayor says he has been reflecting and decided to reverse the practice of imposing confidentiality agreements to settle claims of harassment or misconduct at Bloomberg LP.

“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,” said Bloomberg in a statement.

Pursuant to this change, Bloomberg also pledged to pass the Be Heard Act as President, which establishes guidelines designed to prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace, as well as raise the minimum wage for employees who rely on tips.

Criticism of NDAs related to harassment or misconduct of women has gained momentum during the evolution of the #MeToo movement. President Donald Trump and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein have both faced scrutiny for weaponizing NDAs against women amidst allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

Despite the legally-imposed gag orders, Dr. Nunez believes history is on the side of truth.

“Women remember.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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