People examining the law:

A first-year associate at a Manhattan law firm brought her complaint of sexual harassment to the managing partner. Her male boss, she said, had told her to take off her clothing. After months during which she continued to work for the same man, she left, signing a nondisclosure agreement in connection with a severance package.

The associate won’t give her name, fearing retribution for what she thinks would be an obvious breach of a legal contract. A provision in the nondisclosure agreement, or NDA, says that, in exchange for $40,000, she agrees to “not disclos[e] to any person or entity any information … about any one at the firm.” She also agreed to not sue or disparage the law firm. Her boss kept his job.

This is very often how the Harvey Weinstein at your company stays employed—and part of the reason his story rarely spreads beyond office whispers.

After the Weinstein revelations, however, the power of NDAs may face new legal and legislative challenges. Two New York State lawmakers recently introduced legislation to void any contract that includes a provision to silence workers about harassment or discrimination. “It is past time that we looked at why we allow this to occur,” said Brad Hoylman, one of the co-sponsors of the bill in the State Senate. “By silencing victims, we’re just creating new victims.”

The other problem concerns the statute of limitations that are too short and they serve to protect the perpetrators, not the victims. These laws must be changed.