As reported this week by Law360 (subscription required), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently issued a reminder (Regulatory Notice 14-40) warning firms against the use of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements that prohibit or otherwise restrict customers or anyone else (such as current employees) from communicating with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA, or any federal or state regulatory authority regarding a possible securities law violation. Continue Reading
Often touted as the most expansive state whistleblowing law in the U.S., New Jersey’s seemingly boundless Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) may get even broader. On October 9, 2014, New Jersey’s Senate Labor Committee approved bill S768, which would expand CEPA to prohibit workplace retaliation against public employees who disclose or object to “a substantial waste of public funds by a governmental entity or . . . an abuse of authority or gross mismanagement.” Though the proposed amendment focuses solely on governmental misconduct, it would not be surprising if the legislature introduces a similar proposal applicable to private employees in the future.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. We’ll keep you posted. For more on recent CEPA-related developments, see our CEPA roundup.
Overseas plaintiffs are continuing to seek to pursue SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims. On September 30, 2014, the Southern District of New York in Ulrich v. Moody’s Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138082 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2014), dismissed SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims on the grounds that the statutes’ respective anti-retaliation provisions do not apply extraterritorially. Continue Reading
The ARB upheld a damages award in favor of a whistleblower after his former employer purportedly “blacklisted” him by providing an apparently negative employment reference to a prospective employer. Timmons v. CRST Dedicated Services, Inc., ARB Case No. 14-051 (Sept. 29, 2014). This underscores the impact whistleblower laws have on employers’ post-termination conduct.
On August 28, 2014, Judge James McCarthy issued a decision in Crawley v. Chicago State University, Case No. 10 L 12657 (Cook County, Ill., Law Div.), affirming payment of over $3 million to Plaintiff James Crowley (“Plaintiff”), a former Chicago State University (“University”) Senior Legal Counsel, following a jury trial on his whistleblower retaliation claim under the Illinois State Official and Employee Ethics Act (“Ethics Act”). We previously reported on the jury’s award in our March 18, 2014 post. Continue Reading
On September 26, 2014, OSHA issued a preliminary order that an Illinois employer, Stericycle Inc. (the Company), reinstate and pay $262,000 to a supervisor who was discharged after allegedly reporting safety concerns to management. Continue Reading
As discussed in a Law360 article by Ed Beeson, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will decide in Stryker v. SEC, No. 13-cv-4404, whether the SEC needs to pay Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounties to tipsters who provided information to the SEC prior to July 21, 2010, the date the law was enacted. Continue Reading
On September 18, 2014, the ABA’s Labor & Employment Law Section sponsored a program called “SOX, OSHA and Beyond: Litigating Whistleblower Claims at the DOL.” M. Patricia Smith, Solicitor of the Department of Labor, Connie N. Bertram, Partner and Co-Chair of the Proskauer Whistleblower Group, and Jason Zuckerman of Zuckerman Law participate in the program’s panel. The panelists discussed DOL’s recently-expanded Whistleblower Protection Program and offered practical insights on litigating claims before OSHA, including whistleblower’s right to remove and use confidential company documents to attempt to support their claims and considerations involved in deciding whether to invoke the “kick out” provisions available under a number of the whistleblower laws administered by OSHA. Continue Reading
The SEC announced an expected award of more than $30 million to a foreign whistleblower who provided “key original information” that led to a successful enforcement action by the agency. The award will be the largest made by the SEC’s whistleblower program and the fourth award to a whistleblower living abroad. Continue Reading
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration will seek to remove the $1.6 million cap on rewards to whistleblowers who provide evidence of criminal conduct by financial executives under the 1989 Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). Continue Reading