Securities Labor & Employment Civil Remedies

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CFTC Proposes Amendments to Whistleblower Awards Process and Anti-Retaliation Authority

The amendments would make the CFTC’s whistleblower awards process more uniform with the SEC’s program and would enable the CFTC to bring enforcement actions against employers that retaliate against whistleblowers....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 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 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

Update on Lawsuits Challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule

As we previously reported, there are five pending lawsuits challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule. Our Client Alert on the new rule outlines the significance of the rule and the implications of the...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

CDX Holdings, Inc. (f.k.a. Caris Life Sciences, Inc.) v. Kurt Fox, No. 526, 2015 (Del. June 6, 2016) (Holland, J)

In this split decision, a 4-1 majority of the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Chancery’s post-trial ruling that Caris Life Sciences’ (“Caris” or the “Company”) board of directors (the “Board”) breached a stock...more

Quirky Question #285: Potholes on the Ethical “High Road”

Question: We learned that some of our employees may have been engaging in unethical, and perhaps even illegal, behavior. We don’t tolerate this, so we hired a law firm to conduct an investigation, and based on the results...more

SEC Issues Near Record-Breaking Whistleblower Award

On June 9, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced it awarded over $17 million to an ex-employee of a financial services firm. The SEC’s press release touts the award as the second-highest bounty ever handed...more

This Is Not a Test: The CFTC Joins the SEC and IRS in Awarding Substantial Whistleblower Bounties

Who can tune out those periodic blaring interruptions to our favorite television programs? This is a test. For the next 60 seconds, this station will conduct a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test. In...more

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Awards Record $10 Million to Whistleblower

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced on April 4, 2016 that it awarded over $10 million to a whistleblower.  This is the largest award made by the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program.  ...more

Supreme Court Affirms Class Certification and Judgment Predicated upon "Representative Evidence"

On March 22, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a decision permitting class plaintiffs to rely on "representative" or "sample" evidence to satisfy the prerequisites to class certification and certain elements of their claims. ...more

Dodd-Frank Bounties Are Alive and Well - Both SEC and CFTC Issue Awards

The U.S. government has recently paid substantial awards when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) awarded $290,000 to a whistleblower for providing valuable information about violations of the Commodity...more

SEC Sees Surges in Tips and Claims in Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program

The SEC’s fiscal year ended on September 30, 2015, and the 2015 Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program was issued Monday. According to the report, the SEC saw another surge in whistleblower tips and paid out...more

Federal District Court Addresses Measure of Damages in ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case

Fiduciaries of two defined contribution retirement plans sponsored by the same employer (the “Plans”) sued the Plans’ former investment manager for breach of ERISA fiduciary duties and state law violations in connection with...more

Corporate Communicator - Fall 2015: SEC Proposes Rules for the Clawback of Executive Compensation

In this issue of the Corporate Communicator, we bring you an article about the SEC’s recently released proposal to adopt rules for the clawback of executive compensation. The proposal is already controversial and it may prove...more

No Damages Awarded for ERISA Plan Fund Mapping Claims

Mapping in a 401(k) plan occurs when an investment option is removed and the participant’s investment in that option is transferred to a different investment option (absent direction from the participant). On remand from the...more

SEC Announces Third-Largest Dodd-Frank Bounty Award

Whistleblowers continue to reap extraordinary awards under Dodd-Frank’s “bounty” program in exchange for bringing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “original” information that leads to a successful enforcement...more

Issuers Apprehensive of OSC’s Proposed Whistleblower Program

The public comments on the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC)’s proposed whistleblower program (Program) evidence considerable concern that the Program could undermine issuers’ internal reporting and compliance programs,...more

Whistleblowing: An Employer’s Guide To Global Compliance

In This Issue: - Foreword - A Summary Across Five Continents - Law and Sanctions - The Legislative Framework: Whistleblower Protections Across the Globe - Global Differences: The Cultural...more

Second Circuit Tackles “Whistleblower” Protection Under Dodd-Frank

Last week, the Second Circuit heard oral arguments in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, a case that places squarely before the Court the question of who is a “whistleblower” within the meaning of the Dodd-Frank Act Wall Street Reform and...more

Sixth Circuit Affirms $250K Victory to SOX Whistleblower and Provides Broad Interpretation of SOX

On May 28, 2015, the Sixth Circuit in Rhinehimer v. U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc. affirmed a $250,000 jury verdict in favor of a former financial advisor for U.S. Bancorp Investments (“USBII”) who alleged that he had been...more

6th Circuit Reverses Itself, Abandons “Definitively and Specifically” Standard For SOX Whistleblower Protected Activity

On May 28, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employee who reports allegedly fraudulent conduct engages in protected activity under SOX where he or she has a reasonable belief that the activity reported is...more

WSJ: Whistleblowers Claim That SEC Bounty Program Lacks Transparency

On May 25, 2015, the Wall Street Journal published an article reporting that tipsters have found it difficult to collect financial awards from the SEC after filing whistleblower claims....more

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