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CA lawmaker is trying an unusual strategy for circumventing an NDA: a subpoena

California State Capitol Building in Sacramento.
California State Capitol Building in Sacramento.
Jeff's Canon/Flickr Creative Commons

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Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) is trying a novel strategy to allow a woman to testify in support of her bill, despite the woman’s nondisclosure agreement with her past employer.

The strategy: asking the Assembly to issue a subpoena.

If Speaker Anthony Rendon grants the subpoena, it could set a new precedent. The process could be used by the Legislature to allow people with forced arbitration agreements to discuss matters they’ve legally agreed to be silent about, which could be a boon to people who’ve faced sexual harassment and discrimination and decide they want to discuss publicly.

Tara Zoumer, the woman in question, wants to testify in support of AB 3080, a bill introduced by Assemblymember Fletcher that aims to stop employers from barring workers from taking discrimination, labor or harassment claims to court.  

We get the latest on this story. Plus, we zoom out and look at the status of NDAs in California as they face greater scrutiny in the context of #MeToo.  

With guest host Libby Denkmann


Melody Gutierrez, political reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle who’s been following the story; she tweets @MelodyGutierrez

Orly Lobel, law professor at the University of San Diego School of Law; author of “You Don't Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie's Dark Side” (2017, W. W. Norton & Company); she tweets @OrlyLobel