On November 14, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced its enforcement results for fiscal year 2023, boasting increases in enforcement and financial remedies across all of its programs. The SEC filed a staggering 784 enforcement actions, obtained orders for nearly $5 billion in financial remedies, and distributed nearly $1 billion to harmed investors.
The SEC’s most notable results, however, came from its Whistleblower Program: In fiscal year 2023, the SEC issued whistleblower awards totaling nearly $600 million, the most ever awarded in one ...
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we’re detailing how self-remediation can help health care employers avoid whistleblower retaliation lawsuits following company downsizing.
We’re also bringing you a breaking news story on the $35 million settlement Activision Blizzard agreed to pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Laws protecting whistleblowers generally afford anti-retaliation protections when employees “step out of their role” to report discrimination and dangerous or illegal activity, but not to employees when they are performing their issue spotting job duties. Employers who understand this distinction are well positioned to manage underperforming employees in sensitive issue-spotting roles such as information technology, compliance, internal audit and even in-house counsel without running afoul of anti-retaliation laws. The Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s recent decision affirming the Southern District of New York’s dismissal of whistleblower retaliation claims in Johnson v. Board of Education Retirement System of City of New York illustrates this distinction.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, state legislatures across the country have accelerated their discussion of new laws either restricting or further protecting access to abortions. A state senate bill in South Carolina, S. 1373 currently pending in the Senate Committee on Medical Affairs, would not only ban almost all abortions in that state, but would also afford novel whistleblower protections. Specifically, S. 1373 imposes criminal penalties, punishable by imprisonment for ten years, for persons who “take any action to impede a whistleblower from communicating about a violation of this article with the Attorney General, a solicitor, or any other person authorized to bring an action in violation of this article.”
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