David Zarfes Discusses Legal Implications of Breaking a Confidentiality Agreement
The woman who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment now wants to speak up, according to her lawyer, Joel P. Bennett, as first reported in the Washington Post. But in order to do that, she either needs to get permission to speak from the other party or parties involved in the settlement — most likely, the National Restaurant Association (NRA), not Herman Cain, is the only other party and thus in a position to let her break the confidentiality agreement — or she faces serious risks.
If the woman speaks out, without explicit permission to break the confidentiality agreement, she likely risks having to pay a serious financial sum, possibly significantly more than she received in the settlement itself, according to David Zarfes, an associate dean at the University of Chicago Law School and formerly an executive vice president and general counsel of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Zarfes also points out that if the woman decides to say, call a press conference, the NRA’s lawyers could probably get a court injunction ordering her to respect the confidentiality agreement. If she disregarded that injunction and went forward, she would face civil penalties.