Former Trump campaign worker who claims she was discriminated against sues over nondisclosure agreement

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Mythili Sampathkumar
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A former campaign staffer of US President Donald Trump is suing the campaign for discrimination as well as a nondisclosure agreement she said she was forced to sign: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
A former campaign staffer of US President Donald Trump is suing the campaign for discrimination as well as a nondisclosure agreement she said she was forced to sign: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A former staffer on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign has accused her colleagues of discrimination and has filed a lawsuit challenging a nondisclosure agreement she said she was forced to sign.

Jessica Denson joined the campaign in August 2016 to manage “Hispanic outreach,” according to Buzzfeed News. She filed a lawsuit in 2017 alleging that campaign officials had harassed and discriminated against her.

Her new lawsuit was filed on 26 March at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in order to stop the campaign from bringing up the nondisclosure agreement in the state court discrimination lawsuit which would force that case into a closed-door and binding dispute resolution process called arbitration.

Her discrimination lawsuit sought $25m in damages but the campaign claimed Ms Denson, an actress based in Los Angeles, could have to pay $1.5m because she violated the terms of the nondisclosure agreement.

Mr Trump has been embroiled in several legal matters in his first term, including the ongoing FBI and Congressional investigations into alleged collusion between the campaign and Russian officials as well as 19 women accusing the president of sexual misconduct.

Two other women have also sued Mr Trump to void secrecy agreements. Adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she has a right to speak about an alleged affair she had with the President in 2006 because Mr Trump never actually signed the document. Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, also sued the parent company of gossip news outlet National Enquirer alleging a similar issue about having a supposed affair with the president.

Ms Denson is representing herself in the lawsuits. According to Bloomberg News, she described herself as a "lifelong advocate for the bullied and the voiceless, both human and animal” in the discrimination suit.

The nondisclosure agreement Ms Denson has sought to void “prohibits disparagement and disclosure of confidential information about Trump, his company and family members including Eric and Donald Jr., Ivanka, Tiffany and even Barron, the president’s 12-year-old son,” the news outlet reported.

“Confidential Information” referred to any matters “Mr Trump insists remain private”.

However, Ms Denson said the secrecy agreement does not prevent her from suing for discrimination because she has a legal right to do so and the lawsuit did not disclose any confidential information. She also described the agreement as “too vague” and “too broad,” according to Bloomberg News.

Ms Denson accused campaign supervisors of trying to “find dirt” on her and searching for excuses to sack her. Another campaign staffer said Ms Denson had leaked Mr Trump’s tax returns to the media.