Whistleblower Protection Policies

News & Analysis as of

NGO Study Outlines Best Practices for SEC Conflict Minerals Rule Compliance

On April 22, 2015, two human rights non-governmental organizations, Amnesty International and Global Witness, published a report, Digging for Transparency (the “Report”), analyzing compliance by US reporting companies with...more

SEC Enforcement Gives Employers a Strong Incentive to Clarify That Their Confidentiality Agreements Do Not Preclude Reporting...

The Securities and Exchange Commission? (“SEC”) has resolved its first enforcement action regarding a potentially overreaching confidentiality agreement following the “voluntary” revision of the agreement to state that it...more

Beware of Confidentiality Agreements with Employees; Make Sure They Don’t Stifle Whistleblowing

On April 1, 2015, the SEC announced its first enforcement action against a company for utilizing language in a confidentiality agreement which could discourage whistleblowing....more

Confidentiality Agreements of Federal Contractor Employees – Changes To The Federal Acquisition Regulations Are Coming Soon

Confidentiality agreements for employees of federal contractors are increasingly coming under scrutiny by federal agencies. In late 2014, as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (the “Act”),...more

Corporate Investigations & White Collar Defense - April 2015

It’s Stifling in Here! SEC Rules That Companies Can’t Put Restrictive Language in Confidentiality Agreements That Could Potentially Stifle Whistleblowers - Why it matters: On April 1, 2015, the SEC announced its...more

Can You Keep a Secret? The SEC Says to Ask Carefully

Employers have a lot to be worried about. Employees are given access to trade secrets, customer lists, financial accounts, and other highly sensitive, confidential information. Most employers attempt to deter improper use of...more

SEC Takes Aggressive Approach to Fortify Dodd-Frank’s Whistleblower Rules

On April 1, 2015, the Securities & Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or “Commission”) fined a public company $130,000 for requiring employees involved in internal investigations to sign a confidentiality agreement that the...more

Five Key Issues Confronting Financial Services Industry Employers

Employers in the financial services industry are faced with a growing number of employment law challenges. Whistleblower complaints are on the rise as regulatory agencies become more aggressive in their efforts to encourage...more

SEC Applies Whistleblower Protections to Confidentiality Arrangements

Public companies should review their confidentiality arrangements for any provisions that may result in unintended violations of the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower protections....more

In Case You Missed It - Interesting Items for Corporate Counsel - April 2015

We knew someone would do this for us if we just waited long enough. A summary of early trends in proxy access responses suggests most are including the shareholder proposal and recommending a no vote. See here. Only a single...more

SEC Assault on Employee Confidentiality Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced an enforcement action against KBR, Inc., alleging that a form of confidentiality agreement used in internal investigations violated an SEC whistleblower rule. To...more

SEC Blows the Whistle on Confidentiality Agreements

Thanks to a recent enforcement action brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it may be time to review and revise the confidentiality provisions in employment agreements, severance agreements, employee...more

Washington Jury Awards “Perceived” Whistleblower $1 Million

In a jury verdict issued on March 26, 2015, a supervisor for the nation’s largest ferry system was awarded $1 million because the jury concluded that his employer demoted him as an act of retaliation in violation of the...more

The SEC Joins the NLRB and EEOC in the Assault on Employee Confidentiality Agreements and Policies in Workplace Investigations

On April 1, 2015, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its first settlement of a whistleblower enforcement action against a company for using confidentiality agreements to stifle the...more

UK Update - Whistleblowing: When is a disclosure made in the public interest?

In Chestertons –v– Nurmohamed, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has given the first appellate guidance on when a worker’s disclosure is made in the public interest, so as to attract whistleblower protection....more

Petition Urges DOL To Target Contractual Clauses Discouraging Whistleblowing

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Zuckerman Law recently petitioned the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to issue rules and guidance prohibiting “de facto” gag clauses in settlement and severance agreements that...more

In-House Counsel Risk SEC Enforcement for Some Confidentiality Agreements - Following Best Practices as Part of a Comprehensive...

Confidentiality agreements are boilerplate in many legal departments, but they shouldn't be. In-house counsel need to review all currently effective confidentiality agreements with anyone who could potentially be a...more

SEC Says Employer's Confidentiality Agreement Violates Dodd-Frank

Employers paying severance to separated employees usually require written release agreements that include a confidentiality provision. The employee is prohibited from disclosing the existence of the agreement, or from...more

Three Thoughts about the SEC’s First “Pretaliation” Case

I was on a flight last Wednesday when the SEC released the first of what whistleblower chief Sean McKessy has dubbed “pretaliation” cases against KBR, Inc. When I landed I had several emails from colleagues, asking, “Did you...more

Increased Governmental Scrutiny for Employee Confidentiality Restrictions

Employers should be aware of recent federal agency activity that may require modifications to employee confidentiality agreements. The federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a press release on April 1, 2015,...more

The SEC is Taking a Closer Look at Confidentiality Agreements to Ensure Potential Whistleblowers Not Restrained

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced on April 1, 2015 that it was instituting enforcement proceedings relating to the whistleblower provisions of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: SEC Sends Clear Message - Companies Cannot Restrict Whistleblowers Via Employee Confidentiality Agreements

On April 1, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its first enforcement action against a company for using improperly restrictive language in employee confidentiality agreements, noting that such limits...more

Could The SEC Ask Airlines To Produce Data On Delayed And Canceled Flights?

The following story is fiction.   It was imagined following the SEC’s recently settled action against KBR, Inc. Airlines were caught completely off guard yesterday by SEC letters asking that they produce five years of...more

Is Your Confidentiality Agreement a Ticking Time Bomb? SEC’s First Action Over Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections Targets...

For the first time in the nearly five years since Dodd-Frank went into effect, the SEC last week took action against a company over concerns that the company was preventing its employees from potentially blowing the whistle...more

SEC Brings First Action Against Company for Potentially Stifling Whistleblowers With Confidentiality Statement

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged KBR, Inc., a Delaware corporation specializing in technology and engineering, with a Rule 21F-17(a) violation for using language in employee confidentiality statements...more

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