Administrative Agency Civil Rights General Business

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News & Analysis as of

EEOC Consent Decrees are its Most Powerful Enforcement Mechanisms

The vast majority of settlements between an employer and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) take the form of a court-approved consent decree. This document is a public record designed to highlight and...more

SEC Assault on Employee Confidentiality Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced an enforcement action against KBR, Inc., alleging that a form of confidentiality agreement used in internal investigations violated an SEC whistleblower rule. To...more

In-House Counsel Risk SEC Enforcement for Some Confidentiality Agreements - Following Best Practices as Part of a Comprehensive...

Confidentiality agreements are boilerplate in many legal departments, but they shouldn't be. In-house counsel need to review all currently effective confidentiality agreements with anyone who could potentially be a...more

Increased Governmental Scrutiny for Employee Confidentiality Restrictions

Employers should be aware of recent federal agency activity that may require modifications to employee confidentiality agreements. The federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a press release on April 1, 2015,...more

Is Your Confidentiality Agreement a Ticking Time Bomb? SEC’s First Action Over Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections Targets...

For the first time in the nearly five years since Dodd-Frank went into effect, the SEC last week took action against a company over concerns that the company was preventing its employees from potentially blowing the whistle...more

SEC Challenges Employee Confidentiality Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced that it brought (and resolved) an enforcement action against a company for allegedly discouraging whistleblower complaints by requiring employees to sign...more

SEC Announces Enforcement Action Regarding Employee Confidentiality Agreement

On April 1, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its first settlement of an enforcement action under the SEC’s Rule 21F-17, which prohibits any person from taking “any action to impede an individual from...more

SEC's Attack on Confidentiality Agreements

Keeping its promise announced last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 1, 2015, released a cease-and-desist order ("Order") declaring illegal a publicly traded company's use of a confidentiality agreement...more

Beware of Confidentiality Agreements

If you are a public company or an entity that is subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), then this warning now applies to you. On April 1, the SEC announced its first enforcement action...more

SEC Announces First Enforcement Action Involving Restrictive Language in Confidentiality Agreement under Dodd-Frank Whistleblower...

On April 1, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its first enforcement action involving restrictive language in an employee confidentiality agreement that it contends has “the potential to stifle the...more

SEC Brings Enforcement Proceeding Relating to Confidentiality Agreements That May Stifle Whistleblowers

After repeated public statements warning companies that might seek to stifle whistleblowers, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has brought its first enforcement action relating to language in confidentiality...more

SEC Says Confidentiality Agreements May Impede Whistleblowers

On April 1, 2015, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) filed its first enforcement action under Section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Exchange Act Rule...more

SEC Imposes Fine on KBR for Violating Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protection Rule

On April 1, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the resolution of its first enforcement action against a company for violations of the whistleblower protection provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act...more

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

Employer's Overbroad Confidentiality Language Leads to SEC Investigation and Penalty

Most employers have confidentiality provisions in their handbooks, employment agreements, or other employment procedures manuals. Employers might want to take a minute to review those provisions in light of some recent...more

Blog: SEC Brings Enforcement Action For Use Of Confidentiality Agreements That Impede Whistleblowers

Well, the folks in the SEC’s whistleblower office were looking for a case to bring and it looks like they found one. As indicated in this press release, today, the SEC announced that it had brought “its first enforcement...more

SEC Finds Confidentiality Agreements Violates Whistleblower Rules

The SEC announced its first enforcement action against a company for using improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements with the potential to stifle the whistleblowing process....more

Supreme Court Expands Whistleblower Protections

The Supreme Court has been showing a tendency towards increasing whistleblower protections. The most recent installment of this trend was a recently decided case in which the Court granted whistleblower status to an Air...more

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

First SEC Whistleblower Award To Former Company Officer

On March 2, 2015, the SEC announced an expected award of $475,000 to $575,000 to a former company officer “who reported original, high-quality information about a securities fraud that resulted in an SEC enforcement action...more

EEOC Loses Argument That Company Converting Employees to Contractors Cannot Require Release of Pending Discrimination Claims

Over the past several years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed several high profile lawsuits accusing employers of retaliating against employees by requiring them to waive discrimination claims in return...more

Court Rules That Outing a Whistleblower Constitutes Retaliation

When whistleblowers intend to remain in their company after alerting authorities to wrongdoing, it is imperative that they are able to maintain their privacy so that they would not be the victims of retaliation by other...more

Safeguarding a Whistleblower’s Identity

Everyone knows that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers. It may be less obvious, however, that merely disclosing a whistleblower’s identity can constitute prohibited retaliation. Nevertheless,...more

Federal Court Notes Flaws in EEOC Stance on Severance Agreements

In a closely watched case, a federal district court questioned the stance of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that a severance agreement and general release of claims offered to employees can violate...more

Déjà Vu All Over Again?

As a child growing up just outside of New York City, I was a big New York Yankees fan. My grandfather used to love telling me stories about how far Mickey Mantle could hit a ball and what a tremendous pitcher Whitey Ford was,...more

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