Seyfarth Synopsis: This morning our panel from Seyfarth’s Workplace Safety team led a briefing on OSHA regulation and enforcement under the Trump Administration. 

One year into the Trump Administration, employers’ expectations for a more business-friendly Agency have not yet materialized, as the still-leaderless Agency proceeds ahead with widespread aggressive enforcement. The panel addressed recent developments and trends our Group
Continue Reading PPT Slides from OSHA Trends and Developments: One Year into the Trump Administration

By Ada W. Dolph, Adam R. Young, and Craig B. Simonsen

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of the Whistleblower (Office) recently released its 2015 Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program (Report) (November 16, 2015).

In Fiscal Year 2015 alone, the Commission paid more than $37 million to reward eight whistleblowers for their provision of original
Continue Reading SEC Whistleblower Report Shows Increase in “Tips”

By Ada W. Dolph and Craig B. Simonsen

Blog picWhistleblowers continue to reap extraordinary awards under Dodd-Frank’s “bounty” program in exchange for bringing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “original” information that leads to a successful enforcement action. Most recently, the SEC announced its third-highest award since Dodd-Frank was enacted — an award of “more than $3,000,000” — to one such
Continue Reading SEC Announces Third-Largest Dodd-Frank Bounty Award

By Ada W. Dolph, Christopher F. Robertson and Robert Milligan

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that it had made good on its prior promises to take a hard look at employment agreements and policies that could be viewed as attempting to keep securities fraud complaints in-house. In KBR, Inc., Exchange Act Release No. 74619 (April 1, 2015), the agency announced an enforcement action and settlement with KBR in which KBR agreed to amend its Confidentiality Statement to provide further disclosures to employees regarding their right to communicate directly with government agencies, notify KBR employees who had signed the Statement in the past, and pay a $130,000 civil penalty.

The SEC concluded that KBR’s Confidentiality Statement violated SEC Rule 21F-17, adopted by the SEC after the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was enacted in 2010. SEC Rule 21F-17 provides that “[n]o person may take any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality agreement . . . with respect to such communications.” 
Continue Reading SEC Cracks Down on Agreement Requiring In-House Reporting of Fraud Complaint

By: Christopher F. Robertson

As we have reported previously, federal courts are currently split on the question of whether the anti-retaliation provisions of the federal Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) apply to employees who disclose their employer’s alleged securities violations to company officials but do not report the claimed violations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Just in May 2014,
Continue Reading Federal Court Split Continues Over Who Qualifies as a “Whistleblower” Under Dodd-Frank

By: Ada W. Dolph and Craig B. Simonsen

A railroad’s decision to terminate an apprentice electrician whose OSHA injury report revealed he had not been truthful in his employment record about other prior workplace injuries was unlawful retaliation under the whistleblower provision of the Federal Railroad Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. § 20109 (FRSA), OSHA has ordered.  The railroad was
Continue Reading Railroad Ordered to Pay $225,000 in Whistleblower Action where Employee Allegedly Lied About Prior Injuries

By Brent I. Clark, Ada W. Dolph, and Craig B. Simonsen

In remarks before its Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels said that he will lessen the whistleblower’s burden of proof in investigations.

Dr. Michaels spoke at the September 3, 2014 Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee meeting. In his introduction, he noted that from 2009
Continue Reading OSHA Head Says OSHA Will Lower Whistleblower’s Burden Of Proof In Investigations

By: Paul E. Freehling

In a stunning reversal, the Seventh Circuit recently vacated an over $12 million jury verdict against a nursing home and its president, and remanded it to the district court for judgment to be entered in favor of defendants.  U.S. ex rel. Absher v. Momence Meadows Nursing Center, Inc., Nos. 13-1886 and 13-1996 (7th Cir., Aug.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Vacates Multi-Million Dollar Jury Verdict Against Nursing Home On Retaliation and Whistleblower Claims; Plaintiffs Seek Rehearing En Banc

By Ada W. Dolph and Craig B. Simonsen

Since 2010, OSHA has made a concerted effort to coordinate enforcement of whistleblower complaints with affiliated agencies. (See our past blog about OSHA’s coordination with the FDA here).  OSHA continues in this effort, recently announcing that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Continue Reading OSHA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Agree to Coordinate Responses to Whistleblower Complaints By Private Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers

By: Ada W. Dolph and Howard M. Wexler

New Jersey’s whistleblower statute, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1, is frequently referred to as one of the most expansive whistleblower statutes in the country.  Currently before the New Jersey Supreme Court is the case of Lippman v. Ethicon, Inc., No. A-65/66-13 (cert. granted Mar. 14, 2014), which will have
Continue Reading Interest Groups Weigh In On Significant New Jersey Supreme Court Case Involving the Scope of CEPA Whistleblower Claims