Whistleblower Watch

Whistleblower Watch

Reports and Analysis of Developments in Whistleblower Law

Category Archives: Internal Investigations

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D.C. Circuit Affirms (Again) Sanctity of Privileged Internal Investigations of Whistleblower Claims

Posted in False Claims Act (FCA), Internal Investigations
Employers hoping to assert privilege over documents created in internal investigations are breathing a sigh of relief in the wake of the D.C. Circuit’s second decision in In re: Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc. The D.C. Circuit granted KBR’s request for a writ of mandamus on attorney-client privilege grounds to prevent a whistleblower from obtaining… Continue Reading

New Article Addressing Federal Agency Attacks on Confidentiality Policies and Agreements

Posted in Dodd-Frank Act (Dodd-Frank), Internal Investigations, Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Whistleblower Retaliation
Crowell attorneys Tom Gies and Chris Calsyn authored an article for Crowell’s Mining Law Monitor discussing the recent spate of government agency attacks on standard employer confidentiality policies and agreements.  The SEC in particular claims that such policies and agreements may impermissibly stifle putative whistleblowers from reporting their concerns to appropriate government agencies.  The article… Continue Reading

The Changing Landscape of Internal Investigations – Crowell & Moring’s 2015 OOPS Event

Posted in Events, False Claims Act (FCA), Internal Investigations
Crowell & Moring’s 31st annual Ounce of Prevention Seminar (OOPS) will take place in Washington, D.C. from May 5-6 and in Marina del Rey, CA on May 14. This year’s seminar, “White House v. Congress:  Government Contractors Bracing for the Showdown in Washington,” will cover an array of policies and legislation that will have sweeping… Continue Reading

SEC Claims Employer’s Confidentiality Agreement Muzzles Whistleblowers; Orders Change to Agreement and $130,000 Fine

Posted in Internal Investigations, Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Whistleblower Retaliation
The SEC issued a cease and desist order to KBR, Inc. this week requiring the company to revise the confidentiality agreement it insists witnesses sign during internal investigations. The SEC also imposed a $130,000 fine. This announcement comes on the heels of a recent report that the SEC is scrutinizing non-disclosure, confidentiality and other agreements to determine… Continue Reading

Hotline Reports and Substantiated Whistleblower Retaliation Claims on the Rise

Posted in Internal Investigations, Whistleblower Retaliation
An analysis of hotline data by ethics and compliance firm NAVEX Global reveals a marked increase in hotline reports and verified whistleblower retaliation claims in 2014.  The 2015 Ethics & Compliance Hotline Benchmark Report, based on data compiled from 2.2 million reports over the past 5 years (including 730,912 in 2014), observes that the volume… Continue Reading

Update: Fifth Circuit Rejects En Banc Rehearing of Halliburton Decision

Posted in Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Investigations, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Whistleblower Retaliation
On March 11, 2015, the Fifth Circuit voted 8-7 against rehearing en banc the court’s November decision in Halliburton Co. v. Administrative Review Board. Three Fifth Circuit judges wrote a dissenting opinion, contending that the court should have heard the appeal en banc in order to provide greater clarification and guidance on what types of… Continue Reading

Former Company Officer Awarded up to $575,000 by SEC

Posted in Dodd-Frank Act (Dodd-Frank), Internal Investigations, Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced yesterday its first whistleblower award to a former company officer who learned about the fraud from another employee. The award, which will be between $475,000 and $575,000, follows on the heels of the SEC’s award to a whistleblower who performed audit and compliance functions. Yesterday’s announcement is noteworthy because… Continue Reading

D.P.A.P. Issues Class Deviation: No Money For Defense Contractors With Certain Confidentiality Agreements

Posted in Internal Investigations
Defense contractors must take heed of a new provision affecting the confidentiality agreements they likely demand employees sign as a condition of employment. According to Class Deviation 2015-O0010, issued by the Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) office on February 5, 2015, effective immediately, no funds appropriated for fiscal year 2015 may be paid to… Continue Reading

Disclosure of Whistleblower’s Name, Alone, May Be Adverse Employment Action

Posted in Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Investigations, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Whistleblower Retaliation
The Fifth Circuit recently affirmed that identifying a complaining employee while requesting that employees preserve documents for an SEC investigation was a “materially adverse” action under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The issue in Halliburton, Inc. v. Administrative Review Board, U.S. Dep’t of Labor arose when Halliburton employee Anthony Menendez made a confidential… Continue Reading