US House representative introduces two workplace bills; Accountability for Workplace Misconduct Act would rein in the abuse of NDAs, Professional Images Protection Act would protect employees from illegitimate use of their professional images by employers

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

WASHINGTON , June 17, 2022 (press release) –

Chairwoman Maloney Introduces Legislation to Combat Workplace Misconduct and Misuse of Professional Images

Bills Address Committee's Investigation into the NFL's Handling of the Hostile Workplace Culture at the Washington Commanders

Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, is introducing legislation to rein in the abuse of non-disclosure, confidentiality, and non-disparagement agreements in the workplace and create new protections for employees whose professional images are used for illegitimate purposes. The bills are the result of the Committee's ongoing investigation into sexual harassment and abuse at the Washington Commanders and how allegations of workplace misconduct were handled by the National Football League (NFL).

"Despite the Commanders' and the NFL's enormous public platforms, they failed to adhere to a higher standard and serve as an examples for workplaces across the country. Our investigation has revealed significant gaps in existing federal law that allow employers to use legal agreements to prevent employees from speaking out about unlawful behavior in their workplaces and allow executives to use professional images for lewd and inappropriate purposes," said Chairwoman Maloney. "The two bills introduced today would establish standards for employers to protect workers and encourage them to foster workplace cultures that aim to prevent--rather than conceal--workplace misconduct. I strongly believe that those responsible for the culture of harassment and abuse at the Washington Commanders must be held accountable, and that as lawmakers, we must to use our legislative powers to protect other employees from this serious misconduct."

In 2018, following the NFL's investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination against the then-owner of the Carolina Panthers, Jerry Richardson, the League failed to implement recommendations by an independent investigator to prohibit the use of non-disclosure agreements that "limit reporting of potential violations or cooperation in League investigations under the Personal Conduct Policy."

As a result, NFL teams such as the Washington Commanders can still use NDAs to evade accountability and silence employees who have experienced or witnessed harassment and discrimination in the workplace. According to the National Women's Law Center, more than one-third of the U.S. workforce is bound by some form of nondisclosure agreement.

The Accountability for Workplace Misconduct Act would safeguard against the abuse of NDAs by prohibiting employers from using these agreements to limit, prevent, or interfere with an employee's ability to disclose harassment, discrimination, or retaliation to government agencies or Congress. The legislation would also set uniform requirements for employers' handling of workplace investigations and would improve awareness and transparency of the process for employees.

The Professional Images Protection Act would guard against employer abuse of employee images and ensure that employees have a say in how and when their images are used for business purposes. The legislation would require employers to obtain consent from employees prior to taking, collecting, disseminating, or using their professional images. Employers would also be prohibited from collecting, disseminating, or using professional images for illegitimate purposes. Employers that violate the notice and consent requirement under the law would be subject to fines.

During a Committee roundtable with former Washington Commanders employees in February 2022, Melanie Coburn, a former marketing executive and cheerleader, explained that during calendar photoshoots, production staff secretly captured footage of the cheerleaders' naked body parts at the behest of team owner Daniel Snyder and created "essentially a soft-porn video, soundtracked to Dan Snyder's favorite bands." Ms. Coburn told Committee Members that the women featured in these videos are traumatized. Like many employees across the country, the cheerleaders had signed agreements with the Commanders that authorized the team to use their images for any purpose at any time--even after the separation of their employment. While many states have laws that restrict how employers may use employees' images and require consent before the images are used for commercial purposes, there are no federal laws to provide all employees strong and uniform levels of protection.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

More from our Government & Public Policy Coverage
See our dashboard in action - schedule an demo
Jason Irving
Jason Irving
- SVP Enterprise Solutions -

We offer built-to-order government & public policy coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

About Us

We deliver market news & information relevant to your business.

We monitor all your market drivers.

We aggregate, curate, filter and map your specific needs.

We deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

Our Contacts

1990 S Bundy Dr. Suite #380,
Los Angeles, CA 90025

+1 (310) 553 0008

About Cookies On This Site

We collect data, including through use of cookies and similar technology ("cookies") that enchance the online experience. By clicking "I agree", you agree to our cookies, agree to bound by our Terms of Use, and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. For more information on our data practices and how to exercise your privacy rights, please see our Privacy Policy.