Securities Civil Rights

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SEC Issues $5.5 Million Whistleblower Award

On January 6, 2017, the SEC announced the first whistleblower award this year.  The award of approximately $5.5 million, comes almost exactly a month after the SEC issued two awards totaling over $4.4 million....more

California Court Permits Whistleblowing Lawyer To Use Privileged Information

A California Federal Magistrate Judge in Sanford S. Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. et al., No. 3:15-cv-02356 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 20, 2016), recently ruled that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act preempts California’s ethical rules...more

Recent Whistleblower Protection Actions by SEC and Congress Add Risk to Severance Agreements

Two recent SEC enforcement actions that describe how severance agreements may violate whistleblower protections under the federal securities laws if not properly drafted were the subject of a recent article by Perkins Coie...more

Highlights of SEC’s 2016 Annual Whistleblower Report

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower recently released its sixth Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program to Congress, which details information on the SEC’s activities and bounty...more

SEC Issues Two Large Whistleblower Awards

In less than one week, the SEC issued two whistleblower awards totaling over $4.4 million. On December 5, 2016, the SEC issued a whistleblower award of approximately $3.5 million. Several days later, on December 9, 2016, the...more

Employment Law - December 2016

Voters Embrace Minimum Wage Increases, Legalized Marijuana - Why it matters - While employers wait to see the impact of Donald Trump's forthcoming presidency, voters made their feelings clear on two...more

Former CFO Awarded $1.9 Million In SOX Case

An ALJ at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently ruled that a former CFO was entitled to approximately $1.9 million in back pay, front pay, and compensatory damages, concluding that he was retaliated against in violation...more

Don’t Let Forced Labor and Bribery in Your Supply Chain Spoil the Holidays

The holiday retail season is an ideal time to check that forced labor and bribery—two top and interconnected supply-chain threats—do not undermine the success of your critical sales period. Not long ago, many in the...more

Employers Beware: SEC Continues Offensive on Employment Agreements That Inhibit Whistleblowers

Risk Alert (literally)! Standard provisions in employment agreements, severance agreements and policies may run afoul of the SEC’s whistleblower regulations. In the wake of several highly publicized enforcement actions by the...more

NY Law Journal Report: Trump And The Future Of The SEC Whistleblower Program

As reported by Ryan Barber of the National Law Journal, the Trump administration could change the trajectory of the SEC whistleblower office, potentially halting the SEC’s recent strict scrutiny of potential impediments for...more

OCIE Staff to Examine Registered Advisers' Policies and Agreements for Whistleblower Rule Compliance

On October 24, 2016, OCIE published a risk alert noting that the SEC exam staff intends to examine registrants' compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act's whistleblower provisions. The alert noted recent enforcement actions...more

E.D. Pennsylvania Limits Protected Activity Under SOX

In Westawski v. Merck & Co., No. 14-cv-3239 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 18, 2016), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Defendant Merck & Co. (Company) summary judgment on Plaintiff Joni Westawski’s (Plaintiff) SOX whistleblower...more

SEC’s 2016 Activity Breaks Enforcement and Whistleblower Records

Earlier this month, the SEC (the “Agency”) announced that it initiated a record-breaking 868 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2016. This figure – along with other milestones – reflect the Agency’s commitment to expanding...more

SEC Exams Looking for Whistleblower Violations

SEC staff in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations are examining compliance with key whistleblower provisions arising out of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The staff is...more

Stinson Leonard Street's Emerging Trends Newsletter - Q3

We are thrilled to bring you the third installment of Stinson Leonard Street's Emerging Trends newsletter. We are proud of the depth and breadth of experience and knowledge across our firm's 13 offices nationwide and are...more

SEC directs specific communication to employees regarding whistleblowing

In many investigations, whether internal or in response to government inquiries, employers may take action to terminate employees. A recent US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) resolution in the context of the US...more

Issuer Reporting and Disclosure Remains Focus of SEC and Other Regulators

In a recent speech, SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney confirmed the SEC’s continued pursuit of investigations and enforcement actions relating to issuer reporting and disclosure, an area that remains a high priority...more

SEC Brings Second Whistleblower Retaliation Case

The SEC has brought its second case for retaliation against a whistleblower against International Game Technology. According to the SEC, the whistleblower, a director of an IGT division, started working at IGT in 2008 and...more

Proskauer Joins Heads of SEC & OSHA Whistleblower Programs in Webinar

On September 27, 2016, Proskauer Partner Steven J. Pearlman, co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Practice Group, participated in a Bloomberg webinar with Jane Norberg, Acting Chief of the SEC Office of the...more

This Cold Bud Is For You: SEC Sanctions Anheuser-Busch for “Chilling” Employee from Communicating with SEC

On September 28, 2016, the SEC announced that Anheuser-Busch agreed to pay $6 million to settle charges of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Dodd-Frank whistleblower violations. The SEC’s order stated that AB InBev violated...more

SDNY Refuses to Dismiss Executive’s Dodd-Frank Retaliation Claim

On August 24, 2016, the Southern District of New York denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim brought by its former co-CEO and Executive Chairman of its Board of Directors, finding...more

OSHA Addresses Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Releases

We have written about SEC enforcement actions related to severance and confidentiality agreements that restrict reporting matters to the SEC. OSHA has also issued guidance regarding settlement agreements with whistleblowers...more

E.D. Wisconsin: SOX Does Not Protect Whistleblower Complaints Based On Immaterial, Routine Events

On August 25, 2016, the Eastern District of Wisconsin granted the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment on its former CEO’s SOX whistleblower claim. The court ruled that Plaintiff’s complaint to the Board of Directors did...more

SEC Issues Another Multi-Million Dollar Whistleblower Award

Less than one month after issuing a $22 million award, the SEC issued another multi-million dollar whistleblower award on September 20, 2016. The SEC’s most recent award exceeded $4 million. The SEC issued its typical...more

SDNY Awards Front Pay in Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Retaliation Case

Perez v. Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc., involved a case where Plaintiff Perez drafted a memo to Progenics’ general counsel and his department head, accusing Progenics of committing fraud by publishing a false press release...more

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