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Proxy Access Week of April 19

During the week of April 19, 2015, 8-Ks were filed that disclosed two proxy access proposals passed and four failed. All required three percent ownership for three years and all were opposed by the company. Details are as...more

SEC Enforcement Gives Employers a Strong Incentive to Clarify That Their Confidentiality Agreements Do Not Preclude Reporting...

The Securities and Exchange Commission? (“SEC”) has resolved its first enforcement action regarding a potentially overreaching confidentiality agreement following the “voluntary” revision of the agreement to state that it...more

Practical Advice for Compliance with Recent Amendments to the Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m) Regulations

The recent amendments to the Section 162(m) regulations largely follow the changes set forth in the proposed regulations issued in 2011, clarifying two exceptions from the Section 162(m) tax deductibility limit...more

Federal agencies attack employment agreements, and what you can do about it: 8 steps to consider

The US Securities and Exchange Commission recently caused shockwaves when it announced its first enforcement action against a company for using an allegedly improper confidentiality agreement during internal investigations....more

SEC Awards More Than One Million Dollars to Compliance Officer

On April 22, 2015, the SEC announced an award of between $1.4 million and $1.6 million to a compliance officer who provided original information to the SEC that led to the successful enforcement of a covered action. Exchange...more

IRS Publishes Final Regulations Under Section 162(m)

On March 31, 2015, final regulations of Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m) were published. The final regulations clarify exceptions to the US$1 million annual limit on deductions allowable to publicly held corporations for...more

IRS Addresses Interaction of Performance Compensation and $1M Compensation Deduction Cap

The IRS recently issued final regulations under Section 162(m), which limits a public company’s deduction of executive compensation in excess of $1M.  The Section 162(m) limits do not apply to performance-based compensation...more

Beware of Confidentiality Agreements with Employees; Make Sure They Don’t Stifle Whistleblowing

On April 1, 2015, the SEC announced its first enforcement action against a company for utilizing language in a confidentiality agreement which could discourage whistleblowing....more

IRS Releases Clarifying 162(m) Regulations

The IRS recently released final regulations clarifying two aspects of the “performance-based compensation” exception to the $1,000,000 limit on deductible compensation paid to covered employees under Section 162(m) of the...more

Executive Compensation Alert: IRS Releases Final Section 162(m) Regulations

Background - Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) denies a tax deduction to a public company if the compensation paid to its chief executive officer and three other highest compensated officers...more

A Phantom Menace for IPO Companies - US Tax Regulations Restrict the Use of Restricted Stock Units

Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code (“Section 162(m)”) provides for a $1 million dollar limitation on the amount of compensation paid to each of certain named executive officers that public companies may deduct in any...more

SEC Targets Confidentiality Agreements That Stifle Whistle-Blowing

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

In Case You Missed It - Interesting Items for Corporate Counsel - April 2015

We knew someone would do this for us if we just waited long enough. A summary of early trends in proxy access responses suggests most are including the shareholder proposal and recommending a no vote. See here. Only a single...more

UK Update - Whistleblowing: When is a disclosure made in the public interest?

In Chestertons –v– Nurmohamed, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has given the first appellate guidance on when a worker’s disclosure is made in the public interest, so as to attract whistleblower protection....more

How to Conduct Internal Investigations Outside the United States

Think of a U.S.-headquartered multinational when it receives an allegation of serious misconduct at one of its overseas operations. Maybe the company whistleblower hotline just got a tip that a secretary in the Buenos Aires...more

UK Update - Whistleblowing: When is a disclosure made in the public interest?

In Chestertons –v– Nurmohamed, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has given the first appellate guidance on when a worker’s disclosure is made in the public interest, so as to attract whistleblower protection....more

SEC Says Employer's Confidentiality Agreement Violates Dodd-Frank

Employers paying severance to separated employees usually require written release agreements that include a confidentiality provision. The employee is prohibited from disclosing the existence of the agreement, or from...more

Three Thoughts about the SEC’s First “Pretaliation” Case

I was on a flight last Wednesday when the SEC released the first of what whistleblower chief Sean McKessy has dubbed “pretaliation” cases against KBR, Inc. When I landed I had several emails from colleagues, asking, “Did you...more

Employer’s confidentiality agreement triggers SEC action and penalty - review and revise agreements now

Consistent with its prior announcements that it will protect and encourage whistleblowers, the SEC recently announced its “first enforcement action” against a company for using allegedly restrictive language in an agreement...more

Carefully Draft NDAs to Avoid Whistleblower Concerns

In light of the SEC’s first enforcement action against a company for impeding whistleblower activity in violation of Rule 21F-17, employers may wish to consider clarifying in their agreements, policies and practices that...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: IRS Clarifies Performance-Based Compensation Exception Under Code Section 162(m)

On March 31, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published final regulations under Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code). Code Section 162(m) disallows a deduction by any publicly-held corporation for...more

Ensure Compliance with Final Regulations on Equity Awards

The Department of the Treasury has issued final regulations setting forth changes to the current regulations under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 162(m). Code Section 162(m) precludes a deduction by a public corporation...more

Do Your Confidentiality and Employment Agreements Violate SEC Whistleblower Protection Rules?

As the SEC takes aim at whistleblower “pretaliation” (attempts to muzzle whistleblowers via confidentiality and other employment agreements—overt or otherwise) ethics and compliance officers need to take practical steps to...more

SEC Cracks Down On Employment Agreements That Stifle Corporate Whistleblowers

On April 1, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) gave a boost to corporate whistleblowers, reaching its first settlement with a company accused of stifling whistleblowing activity through the use of...more

"SEC Enforces Whistleblower Protection Rule Against Restrictive Confidentiality Agreement"

On April 1, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its first enforcement action against a company for a restrictive provision in confidentiality agreements that could deter employees from using the...more

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