Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

News & Analysis as of

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

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

Restoring Decades-Old Precedent, the DOL Blows the Whistle on Fordham's "Fundamental Error"

On Friday, September 30, 2016, U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Administrative Review Board (ARB) issued its highly anticipated decision in Palmer v. Illinois Central Railroad Company, ARB No. 16-035 (2016), correcting its...more

A Review of Recent Whistleblower Developments

SEC Brings First Stand-Alone Whistleblower Retaliation Enforcement Action - On September 29, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought its first stand-alone whistleblower retaliation case under...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

Federal Whistleblower Statutes Aren’t a Cure-All

When Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts, it included protections for employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoing by their employers. However, those whistleblower protections don’t apply to every report of...more

Whistleblower’s Attorney’s Communications with Regulators Found to be Protected by Work Product Doctrine

A California Magistrate Judge in BofI Federal Bank v. Erhart ruled that a whistleblower’s attorney’s communications sent to federal regulators were protected by the attorney work product doctrine. No. 15-cv-2353 (S.D. Cal....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

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

OSHA Joins the SEC in Attacking Confidentiality and Other Provisions in Private Settlement Agreements

On September 15, 2016, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released new policy guidelines for its review of private settlement agreements presented to the agency for approval in whistleblowing...more

OSHA Issues New Guidance Regarding Whistleblower Settlements

OSHA has issued new guidance on approving settlement agreements in whistleblower cases, revising portions of its Whistleblower Investigations Manual. The guidance, dated August 23 but not released until September 15, states...more

S.D.N.Y. Dismisses SOX and Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claims For Lack Of Protected Activity

On June 22, 2016, Judge Daniels of the Southern District of New York dismissed SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims, ruling that Plaintiff’s alleged internal complaints did not constitute protected activity, as they did...more

SEC Confirms That Whistleblowers Will Continue to Carry a Baton in Its Race to Enforce SOX

This summer, viewers of the Olympics in Brazil will watch track and field events, in which the members of each team will carry a baton for a leg of the race in their collective effort to win the gold. In case there remained...more

It’s All a Matter of Degree – Fourth Circuit Upholds Four-Year Front Pay Award and Tuition Reimbursement in SOX Case

Affirming a SOX victory for an employee, the Fourth Circuit in a 2-1 decision in Gunther v. Deltek upheld a Department of Labor award of four-years of front pay to a former financial analyst of a software firm and also...more

Whistleblowers: No Reasonable Belief of Violation, No Protection

The SEC has been touting the large cash awards it has been handing out to whistleblowers. The agency views whistleblowers as a key source of potential information about wrong-doing which can give them tips and facilitate...more

Eighth Circuit Deals Significant Blow To SOX And Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers

On June 6, 2016, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the Minnesota District Court’s grant of summary judgment on SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claims based on the plaintiff’s failure to establish a reasonable belief...more

Fourth Circuit Upholds Four-Year Front-Pay Award To Whistleblower

On May 20, 2016, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision of the ARB, finding that a former employee of Deltek, Inc. (Company) was retaliated against in violation of Section 806 of SOX and entitled to four years’ worth of...more

Bonus Points: ARB Upholds Whistleblower Order Challenging Bonus Plan

The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) recently upheld an order finding a semiconductor company had constructively discharged a manager who complained the company’s bonus plan violated state wage and...more

SOX Whistleblower Receives $250,000 Award Related to State Wage Act Complaints

The ARB recently concluded that a former program manager was entitled to recover more than $250,000 in back pay and benefits under Section 806 of SOX based on his discipline and constructive discharge. The ARB clarified that...more

A Review of Recent Whistleblower Developments

SEC Awards Bounty to Whistleblower, But Offsets Award for a Judgment Against the Whistleblower - The extent to which the SEC would reward whistleblowers, who themselves engaged in wrongdoing, has been the subject of...more

OSHA Continues to Turn Up the Volume on Whistleblowing

Rushing to put final rules in place before the current Administration’s term ends, on March 17, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule for implementing the whistleblower...more

ICYMI: Financial Services Risk Summit

On March 3, 2016, the BakerHostetler Financial Services industry team held its inaugural Financial Services Risk Summit. The speakers and panels addressed several key areas affecting the financial services sector: regulatory...more

E.D. Kentucky Dismisses SOX and Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Counter-Claims

On March 17, 2016, the Eastern District of Kentucky dismissed whistleblower counter-claims against Allstate Insurance Company (“Company”), ruling that Defendant Kevin Keefe’s (“Plaintiff”) SOX claim was untimely and that his...more

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