BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo is defending the use of non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements a day after a fellow Democratic lawmaker said she was pressured into signing the agreements when she was a legislative staffer.

DeLeo told reporters Friday the agreements are "part of doing business."
DeLeo's office on Thursday said since January 2010, 33 individuals working for the House were offered "a small severance payment in exchange for executing a written agreement."

Democratic state Rep. Diana DiZoglio said Thursday that she was told by DeLeo's office in 2011 that she would not receive a six-week severance package unless she signed a non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement.

She said she was forced to leave her job after false rumors spread that she and a state representative had engaged in inappropriate behavior.

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