Tearfund scraps confidentiality clauses when settling with staff

Tearfund is to no longer use non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) when negotiating settlement agreements with staff.

The move is being taken by the Christian charity with immediate effect. Tearfund will not initiate NDA discussions with staff and any existing clauses with former staff will be lifted.

The charity says that it has rarely used settlement agreements “entering into them only after careful consideration” and denied it has ever used them to “cover up wrongdoing”.

Its statement adds: “Previously, a confidentiality clause has been used within settlement agreements for the benefit of both parties.

“We have never used a confidentiality clause to cover up wrongdoing and our settlement agreements make clear that they do not in any way prevent the individual from raising any concerns with relevant regulatory bodies.
“In taking this decision to no longer use confidentiality clauses, we are not aiming to influence the church or the development sector more widely. We simply believe it to be the best way forward for Tearfund, for those who work for Tearfund, and ultimately for the communities we are called to work with and before God whom we serve.”

Tearfund works with churches globally to tackle poverty, respond to disasters and challenge injustice.

MPs are among those to criticise organisations using NDAs as a way of covering up discrimination and malpractice.

In its response to a critical Women And Equalities Committee report on NDAs, the government said it believes “that there is a legitimate place for non-disclosure agreements signed as part of an employment contract or a settlement agreement. However, using these agreements to silence and intimidate victims of harassment and discrimination cannot be tolerated”.

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