Last August, we reported on two significant cease-and-desist orders issued by the SEC that, for the first time, found certain language in the confidentiality and release provisions of separation agreements to violate the SEC’s Rule 21F-17(a), which precludes anyone from impeding any individual (i.e., a whistleblower) from communicating directly with the agency. Since
SEC Finds Certain Separation Agreement Provisions Unlawful Under Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Rule
Twice in the past two weeks, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) issued a cease-and-desist order settling proceedings against companies for using confidentiality and waiver of claims provisions in employee separation or severance agreements that violate an SEC rule promulgated after passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”).
SEC Finds That Employer’s Confidentiality Agreement Unlawfully Silences Whistleblowers in Violation of the Securities Exchange Act
The SEC has become increasingly vigilant and aggressive about what employers say in their confidentiality agreements and the context in which they say it. We previously cautioned employers when FINRA issued a Regulatory Notice cracking down on the use of confidentiality provisions that restrict employees from communicating with FINRA, the SEC, or any other self-regulatory…