Whistleblower Protection Policies

News & Analysis as of

OSHA Pilots New Expedited Whistleblower Process – Will Allow Complainants to Request Judicial Review

Seyfarth Synopsis: The DOL announced this week its new Whistleblower expedited Case review pilot process, to be conducted in its Region 9. Employers in this region may now anticipate even more cases going to the ALJ’s, and...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

What, If Anything, Impedes The SEC’s Whistleblower Rule?

As I suspected, law firms are churning out memoranda on the SEC’s recent enforcement actions involving alleged impediments to whistleblowers. While accurately, summarizing these actions, I’m not sure that some of the authors...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

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

DOE Clarifies Whistleblower Protections in Proposed Rule Revision

Department of Energy contractors and subcontractors may be subject to additional civil penalties. The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently published proposed revisions to its procedural rules for nuclear activities in...more

SEC Fines Companies for Anti-Whistleblower Language in Severance Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the settlement of two proceedings regarding the SEC’s whistleblower protection framework, resulting in over $500,000 in penalties. Both of the companies were charged...more

Does New Jersey's Conscientious "Everyone" Protection Act Trump the NLRB's Exclusive Jurisdiction? State Supreme Court says "Yes"...

Executive Summary: Just when employers thought New Jersey's Supreme Court could not expand the state's whistleblower law further (as we reported last summer), the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) once again has...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

Bridging the Week - August 2016 #2

Court Refuses to Dismiss Malpractice Claim Against MF Global Accountant: PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP failed in its effort to have a federal court in New York City dismiss a malpractice claim brought against it by the plan...more

Defend Trade Secrets Act – A Budding Avenue for Trade Secret Enforcement

In June, agriculture giant Monsanto was the first to use the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) by filing a federal suit in the Eastern District of Missouri naming one former employee and a number of John and Jane Does as...more

That’s Tainted! What Employers Should Know About OSHA’s Enforcement of the Food Safety Modernization Act

Lost in all the landscape-altering changes made by OSHA during the last 18 months was its adoption of enforcement procedures for handling retaliation claims under the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”). Employers...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

3 Severance Agreement Time-bombs

Last week the SEC entered a cease and desist agreement with BlueLinx Holdings, fining the company $265,000.00 for including unlawful confidentiality and waiver provisions in its severance agreements. BlueLinx used a variety...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

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

SEC Issues Cease-and-Desist Order Against Severance Agreement Clause Limiting Whistleblowers' Rights to Recover Bounty Awards

On August 10, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease-and-desist Order and imposed remedial sanctions against a publicly traded company for including language in its severance agreements requiring...more

Blog: SEC Whistleblower Office charges that prospective waiver of whistleblower award in severance agreements violated securities...

In a new whistleblower protection case, the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower settled charges against BlueLinx Holdings, Inc. that the company’s severance agreements violated the securities laws. The agreements included...more

Whistleblowing Toolkit

In October last year, the FCA and PRA published policy statements containing new rules on whistleblowing. These are designed to encourage a culture in which individuals can safely raise concerns and challenge poor practice...more

The Financial Report, Volume 5, Number 14

Discussion and Analysis - As an increasing number of investment management firms experience financial distress, we often are asked whether there are any minimum capital requirements imposed on investment advisers....more

Did You Know Whistleblowers Can Divulge Trade Secrets?

The prevalence of employees identifying themselves as “whistleblowers” has expanded in recent years due to expansion of federal and state whistleblower rights. Recently, a recently enacted federal law, the Defend Trade...more

Protecting Food Industry Whistleblowers: FDA, OSHA team up under FSMA

In 2011, when the Food Safety Modernization Act was passed, it sought to revamp food safety in the United States. Since then, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been hard at work passing regulations to implement the...more

Relief in Sight for New York Nonprofits with Prospect of Additional Amendments to the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013

On June 16, 2016, the New York Legislature passed A10365-B approving further changes to the Nonprofit Revitalization Act (the “Revitalization Act” or “Act”), including major changes to the rules on independent directors and...more

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