Renee Phillips

Renee Phillips

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

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Life in the Fast Lane: New OSHA Pilot Program Offers Expedited Review of Whistleblower Complaints

OSHA’s San Francisco region, which includes California, Nevada, and Arizona, launched a new pilot program on August 1, 2016 that would allow complainants, under certain circumstances, to ask OSHA to cease its investigation...more

8/19/2016 - ALJ Federal Pilot Programs OSHA Whistleblowers

SEC Bounty Hunters Take Heart: SEC Fines Company $265,000 for Using Severance Agreements That Provided a Waiver of any Monetary...

Wednesday, the SEC announced that an Atlanta-based company, BlueLinx Holdings, is settling charges that its severance agreements contained provisions that in its view might impede employees from communicating directly with...more

8/12/2016 - Civil Monetary Penalty Confidential Information Dodd-Frank Employment Contract Rule 21F SEC Securities Exchange Act Securities Violations Severance Agreements Unfair Labor Practices Waivers Whistleblower Awards Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

SEC Bounty Hunters Take Heart: SEC Fines Company $265,000 For Using Severance Agreements That Provided a Waiver of Any Monetary...

Today, the SEC announced that an Atlanta-based company, BlueLinx Holdings, is settling charges that its severance agreements contained provisions that it in its view might impede employees from communicating directly with the...more

8/11/2016 - Confidentiality Agreements Corporate Counsel Dodd-Frank Rule 21F SEC Severance Agreements Whistleblowers

Germany’s Financial Regulator Establishes New Whistleblower Platform

Last week, Germany’s Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) unveiled a centralized platform for receiving whistleblower complaints, including anonymous complaints, of alleged violations of supervisory provisions within the...more

7/11/2016 - Anonymity BaFin Corporate Counsel Financial Services Industry Germany Whistleblowers

It’s All a Matter of Degree – Fourth Circuit Upholds Four-Year Front Pay Award and Tuition Reimbursement in SOX Case

Affirming a SOX victory for an employee, the Fourth Circuit in a 2-1 decision in Gunther v. Deltek upheld a Department of Labor award of four-years of front pay to a former financial analyst of a software firm and also...more

6/20/2016 - ALJ DOL Front Pay Reimbursements Sarbanes-Oxley Termination Whistleblowers

Hittin’ The Trifecta: Latest Whistleblower Bounty Makes Three Awards In One Week

On Friday, May 20th, the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower issued an order determining that it would award two whistleblowers $450,000 for voluntarily providing original information to the agency that led to a successful...more

6/1/2016 - Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Hittin’ The Trifecta: Latest Whistleblower Bounty Makes Three Awards In One Week

On Friday, May 20th, the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower issued an order determining that it would award two whistleblowers $450,000 for voluntarily providing original information to the agency that led to a successful...more

6/1/2016 - Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Tipping the Scales: Whistleblower Awarded $3.5 Million For Information That Advanced SEC Investigation

Last Friday, the SEC announced a whistleblower award of more than $3.5 million to an employee whose tip advanced an SEC investigation into the whistleblower’s company. According to the Order, while the information the...more

5/27/2016 - SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

O Canada: The U.S.’s Neighbor To The North Proposes Its Own Whistleblower Program

The Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”), Canada’s largest securities regulator, has proposed establishing its own whistleblower program for individuals to report suspected securities fraud, marking Canada’s first foray into...more

5/18/2016 - Canada Ontario Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) Whistleblowers

Maximizing Protections Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act: Confidentiality Agreements Need to be Changed

With President Barack Obama's signature on Wednesday, the Defend Trade Secrets Act ("DTSA" or "Act") has now become law. Where trade secrets were once protected only at the state level, the DTSA now federalizes trade secrets...more

5/16/2016 - Asset Seizure Confidentiality Agreements Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) Economic Espionage Act Ex Parte Intellectual Property Protection Misappropriation New Legislation Private Right of Action Trade Secrets Whistleblower Protection Policies

Understanding The Defend Trade Secrets Act

With its passage by the House of Representatives, the Defend Trade Secrets Act ("DTSA" or "Act") has now cleared both houses of Congress and will be sent to President Obama for his approval. Where trade secrets were once...more

5/6/2016 - Asset Seizure Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) Economic Espionage Act Ex Parte Intellectual Property Protection Misappropriation Pending Legislation Popular Private Right of Action Trade Secrets Whistleblower Protection Policies

Bonus Points: ARB Upholds Whistleblower Order Challenging Bonus Plan

The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) recently upheld an order finding a semiconductor company had constructively discharged a manager who complained the company’s bonus plan violated state wage and...more

5/2/2016 - Administrative Review Board ALJ Bonuses Hiring & Firing Sarbanes-Oxley Wage and Hour Whistleblowers

Can You Hear The Whistle Blowing?: OECD Releases Report On Global Whistleblower Protections

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”), an international organization whose goal is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people across the world, recently...more

4/25/2016 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Corporate Counsel OECD Private Sector Public Employees Whistleblowers Young Lawyers

Three’s Company: SEC Awards Nearly $2 Million to Whistleblower Trio

On March 8, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an order awarding a trio of whistleblowers a bounty of almost $2 million. One whistleblower will receive the lion’s share of the bounty — $1.8 million —...more

3/10/2016 - Rule 21F SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Where Have You Gone Dennis Kozlowski? Third Circuit Dismisses Tyco Employee’s Whistleblower Claim Over Excessive Corporate...

On February 2, 2016, the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a long-running SOX whistleblower suit filed by Jeffrey Wiest, a former accounts payable manager for Tyco Electronics. The decision is the first in which the...more

2/9/2016 - Corporate Counsel Dismissals Hiring & Firing Popular Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley Tyco Whistleblowers

For Whom The Whistle Blows: SEC Whistleblower Office Issues Its 2015 Annual Report

The SEC released its Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report (the “Report”) to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program on November 16, 2015. The Report analyzes the tips received over the last twelve months by the SEC’s...more

11/23/2015 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Popular SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Chief of SEC Whistleblower Office Shares Candid Assessment of Program’s Results to Date and Future Direction

On September 9, 2015, Sean McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) spoke at Thomson Reuters’ 4th Annual Corporate Whistleblower Program in New York. With the standard disclaimer that his comments and...more

9/16/2015 - Dodd-Frank Financial Institutions Financial Markets FINRA Investigations Rule 21F SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

SEC Guidance Supports its Position That Internal Whistleblowers are Protected Under Dodd-Frank

On August 4, 2015 the Securities and Exchange Commission issued interpretive guidance elaborating its view that the anti-retaliation provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act apply equally to...more

8/7/2015 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Chevron Deference Dodd-Frank FCPA Financial Institutions Financial Markets Internal Reporting Retaliation Rule 21F Sarbanes-Oxley SEC TD Ameritrade Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

SEC Guidance Supports its Position That Internal Whistleblowers are Protected Under Dodd-Frank

On August 4, 2015 the Securities and Exchange Commission issued interpretive guidance elaborating its view that the anti-retaliation provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act apply equally to...more

8/7/2015 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Bank of America Chevron Deference Citigroup Dodd-Frank FCPA Internal Reporting Popular Rule 21F Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS SEC TD Ameritrade Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

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

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