Jonathan W. Hackbarth quoted in article “News to Use: Whistleblower Update, Lending vs. Voting, and New TA Utility”FinOps Report 04/13/15
Below is an excerpt:
Legal experts highlight that there was no proof that KBR, one of the US’ largest government contractors, ever overtly attempted to block an employee from unauthorized contact with a regulator. The penalty was only for the inclusion of a confidentiality clause in an employment contract which forbade the discussion of certain topics without the approval of the firm’s legal department, on threat of “disciplinary action up to and including termination.” KBR has also been required to eliminate any “pre-taliation” clauses out of its contracts, and inform employees who signed the contract of the changes in their agreements.
“The takeaways from the SEC’s order are clear. First, the SEC is and will continue to actively investigate employer-employee agreements and other arrangements that have even the potential to stifle the reporting of securities law violations,” blogs Jonathan W. Hackbarth, defense specialist in litigation and regulatory enforcement actions with the law firm of Quarles and Brady LLP. Should the SEC find anything, he adds, firms can expect to pay substantial penalties as in the case of KBR.