On September 30, 2013, the last day of the fiscal year, the SEC awarded more than $14 million to a tipster who provided details that led to a substantial recovery of investments in an enforcement action. Though only the third SEC whistleblower award since the bounty program was started, our readers know this award confirms a long-held prediction that larger awards were just a matter of time.
A recent Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) quoted Michele Wein Layne, Regional Director of the LA office of the SEC, when she addressed the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower Bounty Program at the American Bar Association’s annual conference. Ms. Layne responded to why federal securities regulators have made just two whistleblower awards since 2011:
“[Whistleblower awards] take a long time. It could be further out until you see some of those substantial awards.”
The Eleventh Circuit joined the Sixth and Eighth Circuits in holding that liquidated damages awards for FLSA retaliation claims are discretionary, not mandatory. Moore v. Appliance Direct, Inc., No. 11-cv-15227 (11th Cir. Feb. 13, 2013). Though encouraging for employers, the decision does not specifically enumerate factors courts should consider in exercising discretion with respect to awarding or denying liquidated damages.