Harris Mufson

Harris Mufson

Partner

Harris M. Mufson is a partner in Proskauer’s Labor & Employment Law Department, where he serves as co-head of the Firm’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation Practice Group and the Disability, Accommodation & Leave Management Practice Group. He is highly regarded as a trusted advisor to clients in a wide range of industries regarding significant employment issues. Harris has vast expertise in employment matters, representing employers in disputes regarding discrimination and retaliation, whistleblowing, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, defamation, breach of contract, wage and hour, and restrictive covenants. In addition to litigating, Harris counsels clients on compliance with employment-related laws, as well as the development, implementation and enforcement of personnel policies and procedures. Additionally, he has conducted numerous internal investigations regarding sensitive employment matters.

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CFTC Issues $6 Million Whistleblower Award

On June 9, 2020, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced a $6 million whistleblower award to an individual under its Dodd-Frank whistleblower program.  The individual was rewarded for voluntarily providing specific, credible, and timely information that led the CFTC to bring a successful enforcement action. The Director of the Whistleblower Office, Christopher Ehrman, … Continue Reading

Reuters: SEC Eager to Prosecute COVID-19 Misconduct Amid Flurry of Whistleblower Complaints

A Reuters article published on May 26, 2020 reports that the SEC has experienced an uptick in complaints amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the article, the SEC received about 4,000 complaints from mid-March through mid-May – a 35% increase from the previous year.  With an abundance of tips at its disposal, the SEC is … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Claims on the Horizon Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

In recent weeks, there have been numerous widely reported incidents of employees, particularly those in the health care industry, claiming that they have been retaliated against for reporting health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.  Such complaints are indicative of the kinds of whistleblower and retaliation claims employers are likely to see in the near … Continue Reading

SDNY Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim for Lack of Protected Activity and Causation

On February 28, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a former chief marketing officer’s claim of whistleblower retaliation under the Dodd Frank Act. Cellucci v. O’Leary No. 19-cv-02752 (S.D.N.Y. 2020). Background Plaintiff is one of several former chief executives of a closely-held infrastructure technology company who were terminated.  … Continue Reading

DOL Decision Confirms Extraterritorial Limits of SOX Whistleblower Provision

As we previously reported, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Administrative Review Board has twice held that Sarbanes Oxley’s anti-retaliation provision does not apply extraterritorially.  See Hu v. PTC, Inc., ARB Case No. 2017-0068 (Sept. 18, 2019); Perez v. Citigroup, Inc., ARB Case No. 2017-0031 (Sept. 30, 2019).  An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of the DOL … Continue Reading

ARB: SOX Whistleblower Provision Does Not Apply Extraterritorially

In a pair of recently issued decisions, the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) held that Sarbanes Oxley’s anti-retaliation provision does not apply extraterritorially.  Hu v. PTC, Inc., ARB Case No. 2017-0068 (Sept. 18, 2019); Perez v. Citigroup, Inc., ARB Case No. 2017-0031 (Sept. 30, 2019). Hu Decision In Hu, the complainant worked entirely … Continue Reading

U.S. Senate Introduces Bill to Extend Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections

On September 25, 2019, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced the Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act (the “Act”), which would extend anti-retaliation protections under the Dodd-Frank Act to internal complaints.  The Act mirrors a bill introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Digital … Continue Reading

CFTC Issues $2 Million Whistleblower Award to Individual Whistleblower for Analysis of Market Data

On March 4, 2019, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a whistleblower award totaling more than $2 million to be paid to an individual whistleblower, as part of its Dodd-Frank whistleblower program.  This award is particularly interesting because the whistleblower “provide[d] critical information through independent analysis of market data,” according to the CFTC … Continue Reading

SEC Releases FY 2018 Whistleblower Program Annual Report

On November 15, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) published its statutorily mandated fiscal year report to Congress covering the agency’s whistleblower program. The report, which covers the period from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018, was prepared by the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower (“OWB”) to summarize its whistleblower bounty program, … Continue Reading

CFTC Issues $30 Million Whistleblower Award

On July 12, 2018, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued its largest whistleblower award ever, approximately $30 million, as part of its Dodd-Frank whistleblower program.  This is the first award under the Trump Administration, and only the fifth award that the CFTC has issued since the inception of its whistleblower bounty program.  Notably, … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of SOX Whistleblower Suit

On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal on summary judgment of a SOX whistleblower retaliation claim, concluding that the Plaintiff’s purported belief that the Defendant had committed fraud was not objectively reasonable. Westawski v. Merck & Co., No. 16-4075, 2018 WL 3159093 (3d Cir. June 27, … Continue Reading

California Federal Court Grants Motion to Compel Arbitration of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

On June 27, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted Snap Inc.’s motion to compel arbitration of a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim.  Pompliano v. Snap Inc., No. 17-cv-3664 (2018 WL 3198454). Background.   Plaintiff signed an employment agreement (the “Agreement”) with Snap Inc. (the “Company”) without consulting an attorney.  Fired just “three … Continue Reading

Update on BofI Whistleblower Litigation

We previously reported in March and last October on a whistleblower litigation brought by Charles Erhart, a former Bank of Internet Holding, Inc. (BofI) internal auditor.  On December 3, 2015, in a separate action, the shareholders of BofI brought a derivative suit, based in part on the facts of the whistleblower case, claiming BofI’s board of directors … Continue Reading

ARB Rejects SOX Claim Due to Complainant’s Harassment

The ARB recently affirmed a motion for summary decision against a Complainant claiming retaliatory discharge under SOX, finding that he failed to demonstrate that he engaged in protected activity and that the Company would have discharged him in the absence of any protected activity given his misconduct. Latigo v. ENI Trading & Shipping, 2018 DOL … Continue Reading

Federal Court Rules That Providing Testimony to FINRA Is Not Protected Activity Under Dodd-Frank

On April 19, 2018, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that providing testimony to FINRA (which is overseen by the SEC) does not constitute protected activity for purposes of establishing a Dodd-Frank whistleblower claim.  Price v. UBS Financial Services, Inc., No. 2:17-01882. Background.  Plaintiff, a former UBS Private Wealth … Continue Reading

SDNY Grants Summary Judgment Against Plaintiff in SOX Blacklisting Suit

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently granted a motion for summary judgment against a Plaintiff claiming retaliatory blacklisting under SOX, holding that a former employer’s policy of refusing to conduct business with plaintiff was not actionable under the circumstances of the case.  Kshetrapal v. Dish Network, 2018 U.S. Dist. … Continue Reading

DC Circuit Upholds SEC’s Denial of Dodd-Frank Bounty Award

On March 20, 2018, the DC Circuit upheld the SEC’s denial of a Claimant’s application for a Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounty award because the SEC did not rely on the information provided by the Claimant in pursuing an enforcement action against Management Solutions.   In upholding the SEC determination, for first time, the court identified the standard … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment on Terminated CEO’s SOX And DFA Claims

Last week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a terminated CEO’s complaints about his board of directors’ managerial decisions did not qualify as protected whistleblowing under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”) nor under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 (“DFA”).  Verfuerth v. Orion Energy Sys., Inc., No. 16-3502, 2018 WL 359814 (7th Cir. … Continue Reading

SEC Issues $4.1 Million Award to Overseas Whistleblower

On December 5, 2017, the SEC announced a whistleblower award of more than $4.1 million to an overseas former company insider.  The SEC declined to disclose the identity of the whistleblower or the company at issue. The order noted that the tipster voluntarily reported original information that prompted an SEC investigation which uncovered an extensive … Continue Reading

UPDATE: California Federal Court Permits Former Bank Internal Auditor’s Whistleblower Claims to Proceed

A California federal court—in Erhart v. BofI Holding, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14755, Case No. 15-cv-02287 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 11, 2017)—recently denied BofI Federal Bank’s (“BofI’s”) motion to dismiss the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower claims plead in their former internal auditor Charles Erhart’s amended complaint. The court also denied BofI’s motion as to Erhart’s defamation claim, … Continue Reading

DOL Allows SOX Claim Where Foreign Whistleblower Alleged Violation of US Law

The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) recently held that a former employee of Exelis Systems Corporation who was employed in Afghanistan could bring a SOX claim even though he worked exclusively outside of the United States.  Blanchard v. Exelis Systems Corp./Vectrus Systems Corp., ARB Case No. 15-031 (August 29, 2017).  In so ruling, … Continue Reading

Tennessee District Court: Dodd-Frank is Not a General Anti-Retaliation Law

The United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee recently emphasized the limited scope of what constitutes protected activity under the Dodd-Frank Act’s (the Act) whistleblower protection provision, noting that the Act protects only “certain kinds of whistleblowers who report certain kinds of violations.”  Boyle v. Evolve Bank & Trust et al, No. … Continue Reading

Federal Court Compels Arbitration of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim

In a recent decision, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin held that Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims (Section 922 claims) are subject to mandatory arbitration.  Wussow v. Bruker Corp., No. 16-CV-444-WMC, 2017 WL 2805016 (W.D. Wis. June 28, 2017). In Wussow, upon his hire, the plaintiff executed an arbitration agreement in which he … Continue Reading

E.D. Pennsylvania Dismisses Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claim After Plaintiff Fails to Qualify as a Whistleblower

On July 6, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed a whistleblower claim after determining that the plaintiff did not qualify as a whistleblower under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”). Reyher v. Grant Thornton, LLP, No. 16-1757 (E.D. Pa. July 6, 2017). Background The plaintiff, … Continue Reading
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