Anti-Whistleblower Provisions in Severance Agreements: A Legal Protection for Employees in 2017 and Beyond
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to penalize employers for prohibiting or discouraging outgoing employees to participate in the SEC's whistleblower program. Recent enforcement activities reflects the SEC's commitment on keeping its communication lines open for whistleblowers who will report corporate wrongdoings. Failure to comply with the SEC's whistleblower program may result to substantial financial penalties.
To avoid such penalties, it is necessary that employers review and consider modifications to their existing employment and severance agreements and ensure that it does not contain any language that may discourage employees from communicating with a government agency about a company's possible securities law violations.
In this LIVE Webcast, a panel of thought leaders and practitioners assembled by The Knowledge Group will discuss the significant and latest issues with regards to the Anti-Whistleblower Provisions in Severance Agreements. The speakers will also discuss recent SEC enforcement actions and common compliance issues that employers should consider.
Key issues that will be covered in this course are:
- Overview of the SEC's Whistleblower Program
- Recent anti-whistleblower Enforcement Activities
- Penalty for Non-compliance
- Common Compliance Issues
- Best Practices for Employers
Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C.
- Overview of Dodd-Frank restrictions on anti-whistleblower provisions and recent SEC guidance regarding their application to severance agreements.
- Recent SEC enforcement actions against employers relating to severance agreements.
- Overview of other restrictions on anti-whistleblower provisions, including OSHA guidance on settling Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower claims and FINRA restrictions on the ability of a broker-dealers to use anti-whistleblower provisions.
Labaton Sucharow LLP
- Dodd Frank improved upon the SOX model by fixing problems and including stronger provisions
- Dodd Frank empowered the SEC to enforce anti-retaliation protection
- Trend now is toward improvement in protecting employees and whistleblowers – greater corporate awareness of anti-retaliation regulations and cost of failing to comply
- Initial corporate response in the wake of Dodd Frank whistleblower program and Section 21F-17
- Use of confidentiality provisions that undermine an employee’s right to report misconduct to proper authorities
- Almost never obvious, instead creation of de facto gag clauses that work to undermine the whistleblower incentives in Dodd Frank
- How subtle can you be?
- Amended confidentiality agreements in wake of recent enforcement actions
- SEC stand-alone enforcement actions
- Role of courts -- Decisions have vindicated the rights and interests of WBs but case law is still evolving (Digital Realty case)
- View from the inside
- Company perspective is to protect the company’s interests – this is a legitimate goal
- But how best to achieve without running afoul of the law and Section 21F-17
- How can employees and potential whistleblowers protect themselves?
- What should I sign or refuse to sign?
Who Should Attend:
- Labor and Employment Lawyers
- Whistleblower Lawyers
- FCA Lawyers
- White Collar Lawyers
- Labor and Employment Counsel
- Employers and Employees
- Corporate Executives
- In-house Counsel
- Civil Litigators
- Internal and External Compliance Professionals
David Mair is a Shareholder in Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C. His practice is focused on representing senior executives and professionals in complex employment and whistleblower litigation and disputes. Mr. Mair’s clients include senior investment banking, capital markets, hedge fund, private equity and other financial services executives and professionals, C-Suite and other senior executives at private and public companies and lawyers, physicians, accountants and academics at leading professional firms and academic institutions. He also represents senior executives and professionals in negotiating employment contracts, team moves and severance arrangements.
David Mair is a Shareholder in Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C. His practice is focused on representing senior executives and …
At Labaton Sucharow, Steve concentrates his practice on representing corporate whistleblowers before the SEC. With a 25 year track record of protecting whistleblower and victim rights as a federal prosecutor and as a senior corporate compliance attorney, Steve helps clients obtain justice and maximize recoveries through the SEC Whistleblower Program.
During his two decade tenure as an Assistant United States Attorney, Steve was a founding member of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and longtime Chief and Deputy Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section. As a prosecutor and section chief, his experience included a broad array of complex white collar cases and numerous parallel enforcement actions with the SEC involving corrupt broker-dealer violations, offering frauds, market manipulations, Ponzi schemes, insider trading infractions, FCPA violations and accounting frauds.
Following his years of government service, Steve joined a multi-national corporation where he worked with a global team of attorneys, accountants, investigators and other professionals to build a best-in-class corporate compliance program. Traveling throughout the world, he conducted comprehensive audits and internal investigations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Russia. Steve has extensive experience in corporate risk management, identifying weaknesses in internal controls and deficiencies in corporate books and records. He also has broad knowledge of corporate internal reporting systems, ethics hotlines and anti-retaliation policies.
At Labaton Sucharow, Steve concentrates his practice on representing corporate whistleblowers before the SEC. With a 25 year track record …
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Method of Presentation:
Experience in Whistleblower and Employment Law
NASBA Field of Study:
NY Category of CLE Credit:
Areas of Professional Practice
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About Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C.
Founded in 1997, Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C. is widely recognized as a leading New York City-based employment law firms representing individuals. With a focus on complex litigation and employment disputes, the firm’s clients include executives, professionals, employees and partners at some of the nation’s preeminent businesses, financial institutions, academic institutions, hospitals and professional firms.
The firm has been at the forefront in winning ground-breaking legal rulings expanding the scope of employee protection in areas such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank whistleblower litigation. The firm also handles discrimination claims, contract and bonus disputes and individual and team employment transitions. The firm frequently represents both U.S. and foreign executives and professionals in cross-border employment disputes, often working together with foreign law firms to implement joint litigation strategies for clients in the financial sector and other industries.
A hallmark of the firm’s approach is its individualized partner-level representation, providing clients with rigorous and uncompromising advocacy and advice.
About Labaton Sucharow LLP
Labaton Sucharow celebrates more than 50 years of championing investor and consumer rights, recovering billions of dollars on behalf of defrauded investors. The Firm's complex litigation and class action services include securities, antitrust and competition, consumer protection, corporate governance and shareholder rights litigation, and whistleblower representation. Labaton Sucharow represents many of the largest pension funds in the United States and internationally with collective assets under management of more than $2 trillion. The Firm’s successful reputation is built not only on its team of 60 attorneys, but also on its industry-leading in-house investigators, financial analysts, and forensic accountants.