Labor & Employment General Business Securities

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Advantages of Using ESOPs To Structure Acquisitions and Divestitures In An Uncertain Economy

M&A advisors are becoming increasingly familiar with leveraged ESOP transactions and are routinely considering the ESOP platform in structuring acquisitions and divestitures. The first part of this article references the...more

Update: Another SEC Enforcement Action on Whistleblower Waivers and Releases

Summary - Earlier this month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its second significant enforcement action against an employer based on confidentiality and release provisions that the SEC asserts...more

SEC Targets Employment Agreements Requiring Waiver of Whistleblower Awards

The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower continues to examine employee severance, settlement and confidentiality agreements for language that might chill reporting of securities violations to the SEC and other regulators. The...more

SEC Takes Aim at Anti-Whistleblower Employment Agreements

On August 15, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued its second fine in six days to a health insurer for allegedly creating severance agreements that illegally restrict former employees from collecting...more

Public Companies to Revise Employee Confidentiality and Severance Provisions

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued two Cease and Desist Orders that dramatically change the landscape for employee contractual confidentiality provisions, as well as for employee waiver and release...more

Standard Severance Agreements May Need to Be Revised

Many employers offer severance agreements to departing employees which, at least in part, are designed to protect the employer from disclosures of confidential information and from any future claims or recovery by the...more

SEC Continues To Scrutinize Separation Agreements

On August 16, 2016, the SEC announced that Health Net Inc. (Company) agreed to pay a $340,000 penalty to settle charges that it violated Rule 21F-17 by using severance agreements that allegedly prohibited its employees from...more

SEC Continues to Target Employer Agreements Restricting Whistleblower Rights

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) recently announced the settlement of two cease-and-desist proceedings against employers alleged to have unlawfully restricted employees’ rights to engage...more

SEC Continues Crackdown on Whistleblower Restrictions: Calls Qui Tam Waivers "Targeting"

The SEC announced its second enforcement action in a week against a company using severance or confidentiality agreements requiring employees to waive whistleblower bounties or their right to bring a qui tam action....more

SEC Fines Companies for Anti-Whistleblower Language in Severance Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the settlement of two proceedings regarding the SEC’s whistleblower protection framework, resulting in over $500,000 in penalties. Both of the companies were charged...more

Yates, Whistleblowers and FCPA Pilot Project: Re-Examining Your Internal investigation Protocols

Companies face an ever-changing constellation of risks, enforcement priorities and demands for internal controls and compliance program elements. As more resources are poured into government enforcement programs, companies...more

SEC Enforcement Expands Scope of Prohibited Provisions in Employment-Related Agreements

Summary - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its second significant enforcement action against an employer based on confidentiality and release provisions that the SEC asserts will discourage...more

SEC Whistleblower Enforcement Settlement Reminds Private Fund Sponsors to Review Organizational Policies and Procedures for...

A recent SEC settlement of whistleblower charges should serve as a useful reminder for private fund sponsors to conduct a comprehensive review of their policies and procedures. On August 10, 2016, the SEC announced that...more

SEC Fines Company for Agreements Restricting Whistleblowers

The SEC has fined an Atlanta company $265,000 for using various severance agreements restricting whistleblower activities. The Dodd-Frank Act added ’34 Act § 21F encouraging whistleblower programs....more

3 Severance Agreement Time-bombs

Last week the SEC entered a cease and desist agreement with BlueLinx Holdings, fining the company $265,000.00 for including unlawful confidentiality and waiver provisions in its severance agreements. BlueLinx used a variety...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 8

Brexit and Structured Products: A Framework for Considering Disclosures - The U.K.’s recent referendum to withdraw from the European Union has affected virtually all segments of the financial industry. The structured...more

SEC Penalizes Company For Severance Language Purportedly Impeding Complaints

On August 10, 2016, the SEC announced that BlueLinx Holdings Inc. (Company) is settling charges that it violated Rule 21F-17 by requiring outgoing employees to waive whistleblower bounty awards in connection with severance...more

Review Severance Agreements For Unlawful Anti-Whistleblower Provisions

On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled with Atlanta-based BlueLinx Holdings over claims that the publicly traded building products distributor’s severance agreements stifle protected...more

Severance Agreements Violate SEC Whistleblower Provisions

The SEC has a robust whistleblower program which is considered an important adjunct to its enforcement efforts. To that end the Commission has participated in whistleblower cases as an amicus and brought actions regarding...more

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

SEC Issues Cease-and-Desist Order Against Severance Agreement Clause Limiting Whistleblowers' Rights to Recover Bounty Awards

On August 10, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease-and-desist Order and imposed remedial sanctions against a publicly traded company for including language in its severance agreements requiring...more

SEC Approves Nasdaq Rule Requiring Disclosure of Third-Party Payments to Directors

New Nasdaq Rule 5250(b)(3) is a result of increased activist shareholder efforts to place representatives on public company boards of directors. During the past several years, activist shareholders have sought to nominate...more

Executrix Held Liable Under Federal Claims Statute For Actions Taken Prior to Appointment as Executrix

A decedent died while owing over $340,000 in unpaid federal income tax liabilities. His estate was insolvent. The assets of his estate consisted almost entirely of a 100% interest in one corporation and 50% of another...more

SEC Approves NASDAQ “Golden Leash” Rules

Recently, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) approved NASDAQ’s new Rule 5250(b)(3), which requires NASDAQ-listed companies to publicly disclose any cash or non-cash payments made by third parties to any...more

SEC Approves Nasdaq’s Proposed Rule on Third Party Payments to Directors and Director Nominees – The “Golden Leash” Disclosure

On July 1, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) approved, on an accelerated basis, proposed amendments to the listing rules of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”) to require Nasdaq-listed companies to...more

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