Severance Agreements

News & Analysis as of

March Sadness: How Not to Drop the Ball When a RIF is on Your Schedule

No matter how long you’ve played the game, administering a Reduction-in-Force or RIF is never easy. In fact, it is often painful not only because they are difficult to administer, but because of the toll it takes on the...more

SEC Charges More Public Companies for Confidentiality Agreements That Might Deter Whistleblowers

In the past two years, the SEC has charged six public companies with violating SEC Rule 21F-17, which prohibits confidentiality agreements that could impede employees from making whistleblower claims directly to the SEC....more

Employee Benefits Developments - February 2017

The Employee Benefits practice group is pleased to present the Benefits Developments Newsletter for the month of February 2017. March 31, 2020 Deadline for Amending 403(b) Plans - When the Internal Revenue Service...more

SEC Whistleblower Protection: Recent Cautionary Tales and New Best Practices

Although 2017 has barely begun, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has continued to aggressively pursue enforcement actions against companies for whistleblower-related violations. As part of its initiative, the SEC...more

Employment Law Commentary - Volume 29, Issue 1

The Cost Of Keeping Things Quiet: Crackdown On Confidentiality Clauses Calls For Explicit Carve-Outs - In last February’s Employment Law Commentary, we discussed best practices for drafting separation agreements. Among...more

SEC/SRO Update: New Governance Focus—Director Compensation; The Time Is Now... Check Your Severance Agreements

The corporate governance focus has traditionally been on executive compensation, rather than on director compensation. Compensation Discussion and Analysis and executive compensation tables in proxy statements, say-on-pay...more

SEC Continues Crackdown on Employer Whistleblower Restrictions

Takeaways: - SEC is targeting contract terms that appear to restrict contact with the SEC or require employee whistleblowers to waive monetary recoveries. - Express disclosure of these rights in severance...more

Employment Law - January 2017

California: On-Duty, On-Call Rest Periods Violate State Law - Why it matters - Ruling in a closely watched case, the California Supreme Court declared that on-duty and on-call rest periods violate state law....more

The SEC Continues to Impose Fines and Other Penalties on Companies Based Solely on the Content of Their Standard Corporate...

In August 2016, we highlighted that companies may want to review the content of their standard severance agreements, settlement agreements, confidentiality agreements and similar documents in light of an unprecedented...more

SEC Settles Two More Whistleblower Protection Cases

Continuing its efforts to bring enforcement actions for violations of whistleblower protections, the Securities and Exchange Commission recently settled two more cases. Both cases involved severance agreements that contained...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

Don’t Read This: 2016 Workplace Law Year In Review

Reverse psychology isn’t the only explanation for the title of this article (although, if you’ve made it this far, it seems to have worked). No, another explanation is that 2016 was a very rough year for employers when it...more

SEC Takes Issue with Employee Confidentiality Obligations and Waivers of Monetary Awards

The Securities and Exchange Commission's (the "SEC" or "Commission") Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations ("OCIE") issued a risk alert on October 24, 2016, announcing that it will be reviewing registrants'...more

“Change of Control” Case Isn’t Governed By ERISA, Court Rules

When an employee brings a lawsuit involving a plan adopted by their employer, one question is whether ERISA—the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974—applies....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

[Webinar] Employment and Severance Agreements At Home and Abroad - Part 2: Employment Agreements (Two Part Series) - December 7th,...

Please join us for another of Locke Lord’s informative live webinars: a practical overview of employment agreements around the globe. On December 7th, our panel of speakers will discuss key aspects of employment agreements,...more

SEC, FINRA and the DOL Take Aim at Confidentiality Provisions in Firm Agreements

On October 24, 2016, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)'s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) released an alert examining whistleblower rule compliance and the use of...more

Employment Law Navigator – Week in Review: November 2016

Last week, a Pennsylvania federal court held that Title VII protects lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees from sex discrimination. As we noted in last Thursday’s post, courts around the country have differing views about...more

Did you consider the COBRA implications of your severance arrangement?

Employers frequently want to provide subsidized health coverage in connection with an employee’s severance or a reduction-in-force. In a classic case that proves the maxim ‘no good deed goes unpunished,’ the failure to...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

New Jersey Bill Prohibits Employers from Requiring Release of Gender Claims in Exchange for Severance

A bill in the New Jersey State Senate would bar an employer from entering into an agreement for severance payments with an employee “which results in the employee releasing any claims, or barring any potential claims in the...more

OSHA Also Hates It When You Discourage Whistleblowers

Following up on our recent coverage of the SEC’s administrative orders in BlueLinx Holdings and Health Net, we now bring you the somewhat dated “news” of interim guidance issued by the Occupational Safety and Health...more

HK's Bill Ross Gives Update From The State Bar Business Law Section's Corporations Committee -- SEC Continues Actions Against...

In separate actions on August 10, 2016 and August 16, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) has again brought enforcement actions against companies for having confidentiality provisions in their...more

Brexit: Future Proofing Your European Business

The dust has now settled after the seismic shift of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (also known as “Brexit”) on 23 June. The British Government has yet to formally trigger exit, and legal challenges are underway by...more

SEC Smacks Another Company for Impeding Whistleblowers by Prohibiting Monetary Awards

As we discussed, in early August the SEC sued BlueLinx Holdings, Inc. for violations of Rule 21F-17(a) for the way it structured its severance agreements to prevent departing employees from collecting monetary awards if they...more

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