Earlier this year, we flagged Maryland's pending legislation (H.B. 131) to protect the rights of consumers to speak up — critically, if they like — about the businesses they have done business with. California passed a similar bill in 2014. So did the U.S. Senate in 2015; the federal bill now awaits action in the House.
Last week, Maryland's effort became law when the legislation was signed by the governor. Here's a link to the final bill, which authorizes private enforcement via Maryland's Consumer Protection Act. A nice win for consumer speech.
0 thoughts on “Maryland becomes second state to ban non-disparagement clauses”
What interests me about the bill is that it seems broad enough to completely nullify arbitration non-disclosure (“gag”) clauses. This is quite a pro-consumer development, given the utter lack of consumer benefit that results from contractual provisions prohibiting consumers from voluntarily telling others, the media, and elected officials about how disputes are arbitrated. It will be interesting to see whether an FAA preemption argument is made in that regard.