Severance Agreements

News & Analysis as of

SEC Settlements Put Severance Agreements Under Increased Scrutiny

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced settlements with two companies for using severance agreements that allegedly violated Rule 21F-17. [Order Instituting Cease-And-Desist Proceedings, In the Matter...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

Top Ten International Anti-Corruption Developments for August 2016

In order to provide an overview for busy in-house counsel and compliance professionals, we summarize below some of the most important international anti-corruption developments from the past month, with links to primary...more

SEC Takes Aim at Anti-Whistleblower Employment Agreements

On Aug. 15, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued its second fine in six days to an employer for drafting severance agreements that restricted former employees from collecting awards as whistleblowers. The fines...more

SEC Continues Crackdown on Severance Agreements

Why it matters - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued its efforts against anti-whistleblowing provisions in severance agreements, fining one employer $265,000 for the use of an allegedly illegal clause....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. The SEC adopted Rule...more

Corporate Law & Governance Update - September 2016

The following developments from the past month offer guidance on corporate law and governance law as they may be applied to nonprofit health care organizations: BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE GOVERNANCE GUIDELINES - In an...more

SEC Whistleblower Enforcement Actions Related to Severance Agreements

On August 30, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) reaffirmed its commitment to its whistleblower program by issuing the second largest award in its five-year history. While admittedly...more

The SEC Continues to Limit Language in Employment-Related Contracts

In orders issued just six days apart last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected language in severance agreements requiring employees to waive rights to receive additional monetary recovery,...more

SEC Fines Another Company for Using Severance Agreements that Chill Whistleblowing

In short order, the Securities and Exchange Commission fined two companies for using severance agreements with former employees that hampered the SEC’s whistleblower program. We covered the first instance, in which the SEC...more

Corporate Investigations and White Collar Defense - August 2016

Spotlight on the False Claims Act - Why it matters: This month, we review a recent Ninth Circuit case that allowed a qui tam relator’s action against various Medicare Advantage organizations to proceed, holding that the...more

Recent SEC Enforcement Actions Prompt Consideration of Whistleblower Carve-outs

The recent settlement of SEC enforcement actions concerning the Dodd Frank Act’s whistleblower provisions are prompting companies and their counsels to evaluate current and prospective severance and confidentiality agreements...more

Employment Law - August 2016

Arbitrator or Judge? California Supreme Court Weighs in - Why it matters - Yet again, the California Supreme Court considered arbitration in the context of an employment agreement, this time reflecting on whether a...more

The Financial Report, Volume 5, Number 16 (Global)

Discussion and Analysis One of our lead articles discusses a research report indicating that SEC enforcement activity has slowed in 2016. According to the article, the SEC has brought nearly ten percent fewer enforcement...more

Time to Review Your Severance Agreements

In August 2016, the SEC issued cease-and-desist orders against two different companies for using severance agreements which required exiting employees to waive their ability to obtain monetary awards under the SEC’s...more

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

Agreement Prohibiting Solicitation of Employees by Former Employee may be Unenforceable

A recent decision from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has raised serious questions regarding non-solicitation agreements that are often included as part of an employment agreement or severance agreement. A non-solicitation...more

Bridging the Week - August 2016 #3

Another Publicly Traded Firm Sanctioned by SEC For Allegedly Undercutting Whistleblower Protections Through Severance Agreements: Health Net, Inc., a formerly publicly traded company whose securities were registered with the...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

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

Two New SEC Orders Further Limit Employers' Ability to Secure Employee Releases and the Breadth of Confidentiality Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued two orders challenging employee confidentiality agreements and indicating that companies must not condition employees’ receipt of severance payments and other...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

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