Securities & Exchange Commission Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission was created in 1934 in response to the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. The Commission was created to protect investors, ensure fairness in the market, and... more +
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission was created in 1934 in response to the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. The Commission was created to protect investors, ensure fairness in the market, and encourage capital formation. The Commission is headed by five presidentially-appointed Commissioners who oversee the Commission’s five divisions: Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Enforcement, Division of Investment Management, and the Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Information.  less -
News & Analysis as of

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

Business Litigation Report - August 2016

Circuit Courts Align to Shield SEC Administrative Proceedings from Collateral Constitutional Attack - In response to the financial crisis of the late 2000s, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer...more

August 2016: Circuit Courts Align to Shield SEC Administrative Proceedings from Collateral Constitutional Attack

In response to the financial crisis of the late 2000s, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”) in 2010. Previously the SEC could pursue civil penalties only against...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

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

The SEC Nixes Contractual Waivers of Whistleblower Recoveries

In April 2015, the SEC announced in a first-of-its-kind enforcement action that certain KBR, Inc. confidentiality agreements violated the whistleblower protections of the Dodd-Frank Act by requiring employees and former...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 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

Compliance is a Business

Compliance is a business. That statement should not come as a shock or even a surprise to anyone who has worked in the corporate world. Every part of a business should work towards doing business. Yet many compliance...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

Wisconsin District Court Follows 5th Circuit: Internal Tipsters Are Not Considered “Whistleblowers” Under Dodd-Frank

On August 12, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Lamb v. Rockwell Automation Inc., No. 15-CV-1415-JPS (E.D. Wis. Aug. 12, 2016) held that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision...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 Settles Charges for Violation of Whistleblower Program’s Prohibition of Impediments to Communications Regarding Possible...

On August 10, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a settlement with BlueLinx Holdings Inc. concerning alleged violations of the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program’s prohibition on impeding whistleblower...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

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

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