California Weakens Non-Disclosure Agreements As ‘Silenced No More’ Act Becomes Law

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

California Weakens Non-Disclosure Agreements As ‘Silenced No More’ Act Becomes Law

Earlier today Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Silenced No More Act into law, minting new protections for workers who speak out about discrimination and harassment.

The law bars California companies from using non-disclosure clauses in settlement and severance agreements to stop workers from publicly discussing cases of sexual harassment, discrimination and assault in the workplace. It goes into effect next year and is not confined to the tech industry, however it has drawn new attention to the sector's widespread use of NDAs to silence workers.


"The California State Legislature and Governor Newsom have now spoken: California workers should absolutely be able to speak out — if they so wish — when they are a victim of any type of harassment or discrimination in the workplace," said the bill's author, State Senator Connie Leyva. The act cleared the California Legislature at the end of August and sat on Newsom's desk as the governor fought off a recall challenge.

Sen. Leyva also spearheaded the Stand Together Against Non-Disclosures (STAND) Act in the wake of the #MeToo movement. The STAND Act was signed into law in 2018 and enabled workers such as former Pinterest Public Policy Manager Ifeoma Ozoma to speak out about gender-based discrimination. However the earlier legislation failed to offer safeguards for workers facing racial harassment.

"We have multiple identities and you often can't separate those different characteristics," Mariko Yoshihara, policy director at the California Employment Lawyers Association, told dot.LA in August.

"So for [Ozoma] to have an NDA that just covered race-based discrimination but she was free to talk about gender discrimination doesn't make sense because she was discriminated against because she was a Black woman, not just because she was Black."

"I'm just so proud," Ozoma said in a statement to MarketWatch, "Turning years of pain into change for 40 million people. It's so epic I don't have the words."

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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INDIEV Teams Up With Foxconn To Launch Electric SUVs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

INDIEV Teams Up With Foxconn To Launch Electric SUVs
Photo Courtesy of IndiEV

INDIEV, a startup based in Vernon, announced this week it will partner with Taiwanese tech conglomerate Foxconn to build its first prototypes of its upcoming electric SUV, nicknamed the INDI One.

The debut makes it the seventh consumer electric vehicle company to enter Los Angeles’s crowded cohort of green carmakers.

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