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Board: confidentiality does not apply to undesirable conduct

Experiences of inappropriate conduct can always be reported, even if a confidentiality statement has been signed. This states the executive board of VU Amsterdam in a letter.

The letter of the board is an answer to an open letter by a group of researchers, who urge the board to revoke all non-disclosure agreements. These settlement agreements for departing employees often include a confidentiality clause.

‘The goal is usually to put an end to the situation and part ways without the intervention of the judge and without (further) damaging each other. It is certainly not meant to cover up undesirable behavior or to impose a unilateral ban on speaking’, writes Dean Vinod Subramaniam.

Courage required

The board hopes that employees share their experiences with inappropriate conduct and report complaints. ‘Reporting problems requires courage. When there is inappropriate conduct and/or an unhealthy work culture, it is also the only way to bring about the necessary change.’

Subramaniam states they will take a closer look at how VU Amsterdam deals with reports and whether they can remove any barriers in the process.


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