Harris Mufson

Harris Mufson

Senior Counsel

Harris Mufson is a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration and Whistleblowing & Retaliation Groups.

Adept at counseling clients at every turn of the litigation process, Harris represents employers in a variety of industries, including financial services, retail, health care, entertainment, sports and legal, with respect to a wide range of labor and employment law matters. These include compensation disputes, employment discrimination and retaliation, whistleblowing, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation, breach of contract, non-competition agreements and wage-and-hour issues. He regularly appears in state and federal courts, as well as in proceedings before the American Arbitration Association, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, JAMS, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other federal and state agencies.

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SEC Announces First Whistleblower Award During Trump Era

On April 25, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Dodd-Frank whistleblower award of nearly $4 million, the first bounty award issued during the Trump administration.  To maintain the whistleblower’s confidentiality, the SEC declined to disclose the organization involved.  The agency did acknowledge, however, that the whistleblower submitted “detailed and specific information about serious … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Revives In-House Attorney’s Whistleblower Claim

On April 12, 2017, the Third Circuit partially revived a former in-house attorney’s whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against his previous employer.  Danon v. Vanguard Group, Inc., No. 16-cv-2881. Plaintiff, a former in-house tax lawyer, previously raised retaliation claims against the Company in New York State Court under the New York False Claims Act, alleging he was … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Passes On Opportunity To Address Scope of Dodd-Frank “Whistleblower” Provision

On Monday, March 20, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in Verble v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC. (No. 16-946), thereby declining an opportunity to resolve a conflict amongst circuit courts as to whether Dodd Frank’s anti-retaliation protections extend to employees who do not report an alleged securities violation … Continue Reading

SEC Reduces Whistleblower Bounty Based On Culpability And Delayed Reporting

On February 28, 2017, in an Order almost entirely devoid of detail, the SEC announced that a whistleblower will receive 20% of any monetary sanctions collected in an enforcement action commenced as a result of the whistleblower’s tip. The SEC is giving this “reduced” award while acknowledging that the whistleblower (1) was “culpable” in the … Continue Reading

S.D.N.Y. Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Retaliation Claim

In one of the first cases to address the standard governing a motion for summary judgment in a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation case, Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled that two former executives of Vista Outdoor Inc. (the Company) had failed to show that their terminations were causally connected to vague complaints about internal Company controls.  Vista … Continue Reading

E.D. Pennsylvania Limits Protected Activity Under SOX

In Westawski v. Merck & Co., No. 14-cv-3239 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 18, 2016), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Defendant Merck & Co. (Company) summary judgment on Plaintiff Joni Westawski’s (Plaintiff) SOX whistleblower retaliation claim, concluding that her purported belief that the Company violated securities laws was not objectively reasonable.… Continue Reading

OSHA Issues New Guidance Regarding Whistleblower Settlements

OSHA has issued new guidance on approving settlement agreements in whistleblower cases, revising portions of its Whistleblower Investigations Manual.  The guidance, dated August 23 but not released until September 15, states that settlements approved by OSHA cannot contain provisions discouraging employees from making future disclosures or contacting the government.  It also sets forth other settlement … Continue Reading

CFTC Proposes New Amendments to its Whistleblower Rules

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or the “Commission”) has proposed numerous amendments to the Whistleblower Rules found in Part 165 of the CFTC’s Regulations. The Commission seeks to enhance the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and clarify staff authority to administer the whistleblower program through the proposed amendments. Significantly, the CFTC has proposed … Continue Reading

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 (Section 922) only protects individuals who provide information to the SEC.  In so holding, the court adopted the Fifth Circuit’s holding … Continue Reading

SEC Affirms Denial of Bounties to Three Purported Whistleblowers

On July 19, 2016, the SEC issued an order upholding the SEC Claims Review Staff’s (“CRS”) Preliminary Determination denying three claims for whistleblower awards.  The SEC’s order explains how the claimants’ bounty requests were properly denied for failing to meet the SEC’s eligibility requirements.  As we have previously discussed here, all but a few whistleblower … Continue Reading

SEC Whistleblower Chief Sean McKessy to Leave, Agency Announces

The SEC announced today the departure of Sean X. McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.  Mr. McKessy was the first to hold that role and started his post in February 2011.  Mr. McKessy is credited with developing and establishing the Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty program from complaint intake to prosecution to the payment of substantial … Continue Reading

In 10-1 Verdict, Jury Finds No FCA Violation by Abbott Laboratories

On April 7, 2016, after just three hours of deliberations following a three-week trial, a federal jury dismissed False Claims Act (“FCA”) claims against Abbott Laboratories brought by a whistleblowing former employee.  The jury concluded that the company did not improperly market bile duct stents for off-label uses in vascular procedures.… Continue Reading

EEOC Proposes Expansive Enforcement Guidance for Retaliation Claims

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued proposed enforcement guidance regarding retaliation claims.  According to the EEOC, the revised guidance is necessary in light of several court decisions, including the Supreme Court’s decision in Univ. of Tex. SW Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, 133 S. Ct. 2517 (2013), … Continue Reading

SEC Awards Whistleblower More Than $700,000

On January 15, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower (“OWB”) announced the award of more than $700,000 to a “company outsider who conducted a detailed analysis that led to a successful SEC enforcement action.”  This award is significant because the whistleblower provided independent analysis to the SEC, rather than inside information … Continue Reading
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