BASINGSTOKE'S MP Maria Miller has called for a new law to stop companies silencing victims of abuse in the workplace.

Maria Miller, who has been a member of parliament for Basingstoke since 2005, has called for a change in the law after Ministers warned that non-discloser agreements currently allow companies to cover up sexual abuse of staff.

When writing in The Telegraph she said the NDAs were ‘driving the wrong culture’ in the workplace and staff who are being abused at work are being silenced.

A non-disclosure agreement is a legally confidential binding agreement, which currently stops whoever has signed it from discussing any information that is included.

They are often used to stop some confidential information from being leaked or by employers to hide wrongdoings in the workplace, such as harassment, sexual abuse, discrimination and bullying.

She told the Daily Telegraph: “NDAs are routinely used by employers to buy the silence of those who dare to raise complaints.”

She has since also highlighted that California have already banned the use of NDAs in cases of alleged sexual harassment.

She added: “Harassment is sadly still a routine part of women's lives, particularly those under 40.

“So, it shouldn't be at all surprising that it is prevalent at work, too. But employers need to tackle it, not cover it up."

Maria, who chairs the women and equalities select committee, said the silence of victims is wrong and has a corrosive effect in workplaces.

Currently, if someone breaks an NDA they can be sued or must pay any financial damages.

In a bid to make a change, when presenting her Non-Disclosure Agreements Bill in the Commons the Conservative MP called for a change in law.

She wants the new law to allow people to leave their workplaces where they have faced any abuse or harassment and receive compensation.

Maria wants them to be able to do this without having to agree that they will not talk about any abuse they faced while at work.

She said that non closer agreements are currently driving the wrong culture in workplaces because poor management can be covered up and employees who have had bad experiences can effectively be ‘purchased’.

Her new Bill would let people leave their workplace if they suffered any abuse or harm and receive their compensation, all without having to sign an agreement to stay quiet.

She added: "If an employee makes an allegation of wrongdoing, which an employer will not investigate, it will not resolve, the employee can still accept an offer to leave an organisation in return for financial compensation.”

The proposed change would mean that employers would not be able to demand a non-disclosure agreement because it would be unlawful.

While Maria understands that lawyers may be worried about what this means for their part in managing NDAs, she said their fears and worries cannot stop ‘a long overdue’ review of working practices in the UK.