Renee Phillips

Renee Phillips

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

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Sixth Circuit Affirms $250K Victory to SOX Whistleblower and Provides Broad Interpretation of SOX

On May 28, 2015, the Sixth Circuit in Rhinehimer v. U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc. affirmed a $250,000 jury verdict in favor of a former financial advisor for U.S. Bancorp Investments (“USBII”) who alleged that he had been...more

6/12/2015 - Adverse Employment Action Employer Liability Issues Financial Adviser Hiring & Firing Jury Verdicts Popular Protected Activity Sarbanes-Oxley US Bancorp Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

$6 Million Verdict for SOX Whistleblower Leads to Malpractice Suit Against Defense Counsel

Playboy Enterprises is suing its former defense counsel Sheppard Mullin after being hit with a $6 million jury verdict in a SOX whistleblower case, the highest jury award in a SOX case to date. In Zulfer v. Playboy...more

4/27/2015 - Attorney Malpractice Playboy Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

SEC Makes Good on Its Promise to “Un-Muzzle” Employees from Cooperating in SEC Investigations

In a much-anticipated move, the SEC on April 1, 2015 commenced a cease-and-desist action against KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root) alleging its confidentiality agreements violated Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower regulations. KBR...more

4/3/2015 - Confidentiality Agreements Contract Terms Enforcement Actions KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root) SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Show Me The Money: Yes, Even Corporate Officers Can Collect Dodd-Frank Bounty Awards

On March 2, 2015, the SEC announced a whistleblower bounty award of between $475,000 and $575,000, its 15th under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower program. While the SEC’s order is scant on detail, it does disclose that the award...more

3/12/2015 - Corporate Officers Dodd-Frank Popular SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

High Court Says “Let It Ride”; Limo Company Fails to Flag Down Enough Justices to Hear PAGA Carve-out Case

On January 20, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in CLS Transportation Los Angeles LLC v. Iskanian, leaving intact a decision by the California Supreme Court holding that representative Private Attorney...more

1/28/2015 - Arbitration Class Action Class Action Arbitration Waivers Employer Liability Issues Employment Contract Federal Arbitration Act Iskanian v CLS Transportation PAGA Petition for Writ of Certiorari SCOTUS Trucking Industry

The Split Deepens: New York District Court Holds Internal Reporting Not Protected Under Dodd-Frank

In Berman V. Neo@Ogilvy LLC, 1:14-cv-523 (Dec. 4, 2014), Judge Gregory Woods of the Southern District of New York dismissed a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim on the ground that internal reporting is not protected...more

12/15/2014 - Dodd-Frank Internal Investigations Popular Retaliation Whistleblowers

Third Circuit Issues First Appellate Decision Compelling Arbitration of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

In Khazin v. TD Ameritrade, No. 14-1689, 2014 WL 6871393 (3rd Cir. Dec. 8, 2014), the Third Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision compelling arbitration of a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim. This is the first...more

12/12/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Dodd-Frank Employment Contract Hiring & Firing Popular Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley TD Ameritrade Whistleblowers Wrongful Termination

Shake It Off: Employer Misclassification of Exotic Dancers under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Recently, there’s been a wave of Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) rulings adverse to employers in the adult entertainment industry. Early this year, a Southern District of New York judge approved an $8 million settlement for...more

12/3/2014 - Adult Entertainment Class Action Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues Entertainment Industry FLSA Independent Contractors Misclassification

Office of Whistleblower Annual Report (Version 2014); More of the Same or Progress on Dodd-Frank Objectives?

The SEC released its Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report (the “Report”) to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program on November 18, 2014. The Report analyzes the tips received over the last twelve months by the SEC’s...more

11/20/2014 - Annual Reports Dodd-Frank Popular SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblower Protection Policies

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Document Preservation Notices Can Lead to SOX Violation!

On November 12, 2014, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Department of Labor finding that Halliburton retaliated against a whistleblower by including his name in a document preservation notice. The court also held that emotional...more

11/18/2014 - Administrative Review Board Adverse Employment Action DOL Halliburton Litigation Hold Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

SEC Puts Their Money Where Their Mouth Is: $30 Million Awarded to Whistleblower

On September 22, 2014, the SEC announced its largest whistleblower award to date under its Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty program. It awarded $30-$35 million to an anonymous whistleblower who the Commission said provided...more

9/25/2014 - Compliance Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee Discusses Planning, New Initiatives

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (“WPAC”) met on September 3-4, 2014. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA, addressed the Committee and discussed recent results and initiatives of OSHA’s...more

9/18/2014 - OSHA Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Calling All California Employers: You Must Reimburse Employees for Mandatory Use of Their Personal Cell Phones Even if They Have...

A California appellate court recently held that employers are always required to reimburse employees for mandatory use of their personal cell phones, even if they do not incur any additional expense for doing so. The case is...more

9/8/2014 - Bring Your Own Device Cell Phones Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues Mobile Devices Reimbursements

Second Circuit Holds Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Provision Does Not Apply Extraterritorially

Last week, in Liu v. Siemens, AG, the Second Circuit held that the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower retaliation provision (15 U.S.C. 78u-6(h)(1)) does not apply extraterritorially, in the first Second Circuit decision to...more

8/19/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Chief Compliance Officers Dodd-Frank Extraterritoriality Rules FCPA Popular Sarbanes-Oxley Siemens Whistleblowers

Second Circuit Rejects Definitively and Specifically Standard But Upholds Dismissal of SOX Whistleblower Complaint in Nielsen v....

Last week, the Second Circuit upheld a district court’s dismissal of a plaintiff’s Sarbanes-Oxley (“SOX”) whistleblower claim – but not before rejecting the “definitively and specifically” standard on which the district...more

8/14/2014 - Dismissals Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

Can You Hear the Whistle Blowing?: SEC Punishes Company that Did Not Address Fraud Allegations by Whistleblower

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the latest whistleblower bounty awarded under the Dodd-Frank Act, which authorizes rewards for original information about violations of securities laws....more

8/13/2014 - Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions Fraud Investigations SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Can You Hear the Whistle Blowing?: SEC Punishes Company that Did Not Address Fraud Allegations by Whistleblower

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the latest whistleblower bounty awarded under the Dodd-Frank Act, which authorizes rewards for original information about violations of securities laws. ...more

8/13/2014 - Compliance Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions Fraud SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

PDA and Young: Pregnancy Discrimination Law to Break from Its Infancy

On the heels of the Hobby Lobby decision in late June, the Supreme Court has signaled that women’s health issues in the workplace will continue to be a central issue by granting a petition for certiorari in Young v. United...more

7/16/2014 - ADA Certiorari Discrimination EEOC Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Guidance Hiring & Firing Pregnancy Discrimination Reasonable Accommodation SCOTUS Young v United Parcel Service

SEC Charges Hedge Fund Adviser with Whistleblower Retaliation under Dodd-Frank

On June 16, 2014, the SEC issued its first-ever charge of whistleblower retaliation under section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Act, charging a hedge fund advisor and its owner with “engaging in prohibited principal transactions and...more

6/18/2014 - Dodd-Frank Hedge Funds Retaliation SEC Whistleblowers

SEC Charges Hedge Fund Adviser with Whistleblower Retaliation under Dodd-Frank

On June 16, 2014, the SEC issued its first-ever charge of whistleblower retaliation under section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Act, charging a hedge fund advisor and its owner with “engaging in prohibited principal transactions and...more

6/18/2014 - Dodd-Frank Hedge Funds Popular Retaliation SEC Whistleblowers

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Issues First Whistleblower Award

On Monday, May 19, 2014, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) issued its first award to a whistleblower under its Dodd-Frank bounty program. ...more

5/28/2014 - CFTC Compliance Dodd-Frank Enforcement Actions Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

CFTC Issues First Whistleblower Award

On Monday, May 19, 2014, the CFTC issued its first award to a whistleblower under its Dodd-Frank bounty program. The Commission will pay $240,000 to an unidentified whistleblower who “voluntarily provided original...more

5/21/2014 - CFTC Dodd-Frank Enforcement Actions Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

San Francisco Employers Beware: New Extensive Restrictions on Use of Criminal Background Information

The use of criminal background checks when hiring employees has become even more limited in San Francisco. On August 13, 2014, the recently passed Fair Chance Ordinance (Ordinance) becomes operative requiring employers doing...more

3/12/2014 - Background Checks Ban the Box Criminal Background Checks Job Applicants

Babysitters at the Gate: The Supreme Court’s Radical Expansion of SOX’s Whistleblower Protections

Yesterday, in Lawson v. FMR LLC, a divided U.S. Supreme Court decided its first case addressing the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The question before the Court: do those protections extend only to...more

3/6/2014 - Contractors Corporate Counsel Fidelity Investments FMR LLC Lawson v FMR Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Subcontractors Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Complaint about Foreign Tax Violations Sunk Under SOX

On February 12, 2014, the Fifth Circuit in Villanueva v. U.S. Department of Labor held that an employee did not engage in protected activity under SOX when he reported alleged violations of Columbian tax laws to U.S....more

2/19/2014 - DOL Multinationals Offshore Payments Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley Tax Fraud Whistleblowers

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