Bulletins

Tech’s NDA wall is crumbling. Salesforce is next.

Salesforce is extending Silenced No More Act protections to all U.S. employees, following shareholder pressure.

Marc Benioff

Salesforce follows Apple in extending Silenced No More Act protections to all U.S. workers.

Photo: Jason Alden/Getty Images

Salesforce just became the latest tech giant to commit to limiting the scope of its non-disclosure agreements, freeing workers up to talk about instances of harassment or discrimination they experience on the job. Salesforce and all California employers are already required to make these changes for workers in the state under California’s Silenced No More Act. But the new policy extends those protections to all Salesforce employees across the country.

“Our employees are key stakeholders, and it’s critical that we offer them the support to ensure they’re happy, healthy and protected,” the company wrote in a blog post Friday. Salesforce plans to implement the changes by the end of 2022.


A good deal of the credit for this shift goes to the so-called Transparency in Employment Agreements Coalition, a group of advocates and investors that has been using shareholder proposals to encourage tech giants, including Salesforce, Meta, Alphabet and Apple, to extend the policies enshrined in the Silenced No More Act to all of their employees. One of the leaders of that coalition, former Pinterest employee Ifeoma Ozoma, was instrumental in pushing that law forward in California. Another version of the law also recently passed in Washington state.

“From the beginning, my goal in assembling the coalition was for us to get these protections to as many workers in as many jurisdictions as possible, and this certainly marks a massive achievement of that goal,” Ozoma said of the Salesforce commitment. The company has offices in more than a dozen U.S. states. Now that Salesforce has committed to make these changes, the coalition is withdrawing its proposal.

Salesforce is not the first tech company this pressure campaign has worked on. After facing a similar proposal from the coalition earlier this month, Google confirmed in an SEC filing that employees are free to discuss workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation, even under their current NDAs. Though the company insists that’s not a new policy, it had never before published the exact terms of its employee agreements — especially not in a place where investors and the SEC could hold them to it.

Apple, meanwhile, initially asked the SEC to exclude the coalition’s proposal calling for a report on its use of concealment clauses. Apple argued that the company had already “substantially implemented” the proposal in its business conduct policy. The SEC denied the request and is now reportedly looking into whether the company misled investors with its statements. In the meantime, Apple ended up committing in its proxy statement to incorporate the Silenced No More Act’s language in all U.S. separation agreements, which Ozoma counts as a major, hard-fought victory of the coalition’s work.

“The point of Silenced No More is enshrining the protections in the actual contracts people sign,” Ozoma said. “Not employee handbooks that can be and are changed at a whim.”

Ozoma and the coalition have also secured commitments to expand these protections from Twilio, Expensify and Pinterest, Ozoma’s former employer. Ozoma and her former colleague Aerica Shimizu Banks have been public about allegations of discrimination and retaliation at the company, which has prompted their ongoing activism.

The coalition’s work, coupled with the work of a growing number of state legislatures, suggests that the tech industry’s wall of secrecy is on its way out. Investors, lawmakers and workers themselves seem increasingly supportive of freeing employees from the gag orders that often wind up blowing up in their faces.

The only question now is: Who’s next?

Latest Bulletins

Mobile game revenue will decline for the first time in history this year, market research firm Newzoo now says in a revised outlook for the 2022 global games market. While the whole game industry is expected to contract by 4.3% — another first since Newzoo began tracking the market in 2007 — the company is predicting a 6.4% decline in mobile game spending on top of a 4.2% decline in console game spending.

Keep Reading Show less

Amazon is planning to lay off thousands of employees, Protocol has learned, ahead of what the company has cautioned will be a slow holiday shopping season.

Keep Reading Show less

Google agreed to pay $391.5 million and make changes to its user privacy controls as part of a settlement with a coalition of 40 state attorneys general. The coalition accused Google of misleading customers about location-tracking practices that informed ad targeting.

Keep Reading Show less

FTX has filed for bankruptcy and the crypto company also announced that founder Sam Bankman-Fried has resigned as CEO.

Keep Reading Show less

Salesforce recently updated its internal policies to make it easier for managers to terminate employees for performance issues without HR involvement, Protocol has learned, a move that comes as the software giant looks to shed as many as 2,500 jobs.

Keep Reading Show less

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said fraud and scam reports comprise the top complaint it receives about virtual currencies — and that customers are finding little help from companies when it happens.

Keep Reading Show less

Elon Musk sent his first email to Twitter staff late Wednesday, warning of a difficult economic road ahead and telling employees they need to be in office for a minimum of 40 hours per week. "Sorry that this is my first email to the whole company, but there is no way to sugarcoat the message," he began, ominously.

Keep Reading Show less

Binance isn’t buying FTX after all. The crypto giant said Wednesday it has decided that it “will not pursue the potential acquisition” based on a “corporate due diligence” review.

Keep Reading Show less

On Wednesday, John Kerry unveiled a plan for a new carbon credit program aimed at mobilizing private capital to help middle-income countries transition away from coal and move toward renewable energy.

Keep Reading Show less

Meta announced it was laying off more than 11,000 employees Wednesday morning, slashing jobs in its recruiting department and refocusing its remaining team on AI discovery, ads, and its investment in the metaverse.

"I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here," Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a message to employees that was also posted online. "I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry to those impacted."

Keep Reading Show less

Al Gore has one mission this week at COP27, and that’s to give climate negotiators what he hopes will be a critical tool to address the crisis at hand: an independent, global inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, down to the individual facility.

The Climate TRACE coalition just released the world’s most detailed inventory of global greenhouse gas emissions, which Gore, a founding member, is unveiling on Wednesday at the United Nations climate summit in Egypt.

Keep Reading Show less

Way back in March, your friendly Protocol Climate team offered you some tips for writing a climate plan that doesn’t suck. Surely you took that advice. But if for some reason you didn’t, the United Nations has your back.

Keep Reading Show less

Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said Tuesday the crypto powerhouse signed a deal to acquire rival FTX.

Keep Reading Show less

Salesforce is preparing for a major round of layoffs that could affect as many as 2,500 workers across the software vendor, Protocol has learned, in a bid to cut costs amid a new activist investor challenge and harsh economic conditions.

Keep Reading Show less

BlockFi has introduced a new digital assets interest product for accredited investors, after previously agreeing to shut down a yield-paying crypto product that the SEC said was illegal.

Keep Reading Show less

The Justice Department said Monday it seized $3.4 billion worth of bitcoin stolen in the 2012 hack of the Silk Road dark web marketplace.

Keep Reading Show less

U.S. election infrastructure is exceedingly secure, and voter fraud here is so rare it’s comparable to your annual chances of getting struck by lightning. Despite this, former President Donald Trump and a long list of allies in the Republican Party have spent the last two years questioning the overall integrity of the U.S. election system. Many of those allies are now candidates themselves, and their coordinated attack on the country’s status as a democracy is not a relic of 2020. Some have already started repeating these “Big Lie” charges ahead of next week’s midterms. And the social platforms that help them spread their message have prepared few measures to stop it.

Keep Reading Show less

The White House just laid out its climate tech priorities to reach net zero by 2050.

Keep Reading Show less

Coinbase said Thursday that it lost more users in the third quarter. But the decline wasn’t the disastrous drop that Wall Street was expecting, and that sparked a rally in the crypto company’s shares after-hours.

Keep Reading Show less

The Biden administration announced $9 billion in funding Wednesday to improve home efficiency, which could help support the installation of up to 500,000 heat pumps. With winter approaching and utilities warning of gas shortages, there are some major challenges facing the technology that money can be used to tackle.

Keep Reading Show less

Block beat earnings expectations, with strong growth largely fueled by its Cash App business. Traders sent shares up more than 12% after-hours Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less

Stripe is laying off 14% of its staff, its co-founders said Thursday, as the fintech startup must start "building differently for leaner times."

Keep Reading Show less

Roku saw its revenue growth slow in Q3, and warned investors Wednesday that things are about to get worse: “A lot of Q4 ad campaigns are being canceled,” said Roku CEO Anthony Wood during the company’s Q4 earnings call. “We’re seeing lots of big categories pull back. Telecom, insurance … even toy marketers are planning on reducing their spending.”

Keep Reading Show less

Green jobs and corporate climate pledges abound, but skilled sustainability professionals are scarce.

Keep Reading Show less

Robinhood reported a drop in third-quarter revenue but also a narrower loss on Wednesday, in a sign that it might be stabilizing its business as it attempts to recover from a staggering drop in the stock and crypto trading activity that fueled its growth.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins