Labor & Employment Securities Business Organization

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SEC Settlements Put Severance Agreements Under Increased Scrutiny

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced settlements with two companies for using severance agreements that allegedly violated Rule 21F-17. [Order Instituting Cease-And-Desist Proceedings, In the Matter...more

OSHA Makes it Harder to Settle Whistleblower Claims.

As you may or may not know, OSHA administers the whistleblower portions of about 22 federal statutes. Similar to the recent information from the SEC about problematic language in settlement agreements, OSHA, in its role as...more

Ninth Circuit Holds that SOX 304 Clawback Applies to Executives that are Not at Fault

The Ninth Circuit recently held that Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX 304) allows for a clawback of certain CEO and CFO compensation regardless of whether the clawback was triggered by the personal misconduct of...more

Introduction of the Empowering Employees through Stock Ownership (EESO) Act

On July 12, 2016, the Empowering Employees through Stock Ownership (EESO) Act (S. 3152) was introduced to the U.S. Senate by Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Dean Heller (R-NV). The Act is intended to make it easier for...more

District Court Rules on ERISA Liability of Board and ESOP Advisory Committee Members in ESOP Transactions

On Sept. 1, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued its decision in the Antioch employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) fiduciary litigation. The court held that the Antioch Board of Directors...more

SEC Whistleblower Enforcement Actions Related to Severance Agreements

On August 30, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) reaffirmed its commitment to its whistleblower program by issuing the second largest award in its five-year history. While admittedly...more

The SEC Continues to Limit Language in Employment-Related Contracts

In orders issued just six days apart last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected language in severance agreements requiring employees to waive rights to receive additional monetary recovery,...more

New Nasdaq Rule Requires Disclosure of Third Party Compensation of Directors and Nominees

Effective August 1, 2016, companies listed on Nasdaq are subject to a new rule requiring annual disclosure of the material terms of agreements or arrangements between directors or director nominees and third parties that...more

SEC Whistleblower Awards Reach $100 Million Milestone

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced this week that awards from its whistleblower program had surpassed $100 million—thanks to a $22 million award announced the same day. That award was the largest since the...more

You May Not Stack the Deck: SEC Announces Penalties Against Companies Requiring Employees to Waive Whistleblower Protections to...

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently announced that two companies agreed to pay penalties of more than $500,000, combined, for illegally requiring employees to waive their rights to monetary awards from the...more

SEC Cracks Down On Anti-Whistleblower Severance Agreements

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued six-figure fines to two different employers in the past several weeks, claiming that each crafted restrictive severance agreements that violated agency rules...more

Bridging the Week - August 2016 #3

Another Publicly Traded Firm Sanctioned by SEC For Allegedly Undercutting Whistleblower Protections Through Severance Agreements: Health Net, Inc., a formerly publicly traded company whose securities were registered with the...more

Companies Should Revisit Severance and Other Agreements as the SEC Steps Up Enforcement Actions to Protect Whistleblower Rights

In less than one week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced enforcement actions against two companies that had required their departing employees to waive their rights to any monetary recovery under 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

Two New SEC Orders Further Limit Employers' Ability to Secure Employee Releases and the Breadth of Confidentiality Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued two orders challenging employee confidentiality agreements and indicating that companies must not condition employees’ receipt of severance payments and other...more

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

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” - Reading advance sheets often brings the closing line from The Great Gatsby to mind.  Our alert from April 2015 is being rerun in full...more

SEC Finds Certain Separation Agreement Provisions Unlawful Under Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Rule

Twice in the past two weeks, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) issued a cease-and-desist order settling proceedings against companies for using confidentiality and waiver of claims provisions in...more

SEC Enforcement Actions May Require Changes to Severance Agreements

Public companies should revisit their template severance agreements, in light of two recent orders by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Standard severance clauses covering (1) confidential information and (2)...more

How Much Is A Whistleblower Waiver Really Worth?

The Securities and Exchange Commission is aggressively interpreting and enforcing its rule against impeding whistleblowers. Rule 21F-17(a) provides...more

SEC Settlements Put Severance Agreements Under Increased Scrutiny

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced settlements with two companies for using severance agreements that allegedly violated Rule 21F-17. Rule 21F-17 provides that “[n]o person may take any action...more

Private Company Employee Stock Sales Highlight Hidden Dangers of Compliance Failures

We noted with interest the latest moves by some Bay Area tech giants to permit their employees to sell restricted stock to help them realize the stock value as part of their compensation: See New York Times reporting here. ...more

Public Company Sanctioned by SEC for Including Illegal Anti-Whistleblower Provisions in Severance Agreements

In a speech on April 30, 2015. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White noted that... Please see full Advisory below for more information....more

SEC Files Another Action To Protect Whistleblowers

Undermining the protections of Exchange Act Section 21E which protect whistleblowers was the subject of a recent, settled enforcement action. Now the Commission has brought a similar action, again centered on provisions in...more

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