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

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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'The Writing's on the Wall': Electric Batteries' Rapid Progress May Have Just Doomed Natural Gas Trucks

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

'The Writing's on the Wall': Electric Batteries' Rapid Progress May Have Just Doomed Natural Gas Trucks
Image from Tesla

Last month, when dot.LA toured the Hexagon Purus facility in Ontario, California, multiple employees bemoaned the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) ruling on renewable natural gas (RNG) as a hindrance to decarbonizing trucking-haul trucking. They argued that keeping RNG classified as a “near-zero emission” fuel prevented companies using financial incentives like the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, which, as the name suggests, is only available to true zero-emission trucks. The effect, they said, was that the agency was missing an opportunity to accelerate the state’s transition away from diesel.

But over the weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce that the EV company’s battery powered class 8 semi-truck had completed a 500-mile trip fully loaded (to the tune of 81,000 lbs). It now appears CARB’s refusal to classify renewable natural gas (RNG) as a zero-emission fuel source was ultimately the right decision.

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Hoopla’s Deron Quon on Keeping Perspective as a Founder

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Hoopla’s Deron Quon
Image courtesy of Deron Quon.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, serial founder and angel investor Deron Quon discusses the human side of entrepreneurship and how a founder’s ethos can impact company culture.

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