Over the years, the Securities and Exchange Commission has taken aim at common language in settlement and severance agreements regarding nondisclosure and confidentiality. It has been relatively commonplace for such agreements to include language that requires, for example, the settling or departing employee to agree not to disclose the employer’s confidential information or trade secrets,... Continue Reading
December 9, 2022

Practical Guidance to Mitigate Risks to Employers of “Bad Actors” Who Engage in Retaliatory Acts

The Biden Administration recently announced increased coordination between EEOC, the US DOL and the NLRB to strengthen an intra-agency approach focused on combatting unlawful workplace retaliation.  The approach will raise awareness and engage not only workers and the public, but also other key stakeholders, including employers. Given the Administration’s focus, employers should anticipate aggressive coordination... Continue Reading
September 22, 2022

The “S” in ESG: Tying Compensation To DEI Goals

As companies plan and strategize about next steps regarding the  “S” of ESG, i.e., Social initiatives, we are often asked about best practices in promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)  goals in the workplace.   Companies increasingly are seeking to tie compensation to DEI goals. Doing so demonstrates the company’s commitment to DEI, and rewards positive... Continue Reading
September 20, 2022

To Be (Discoverable), or Not to Be: Notetaking During an Attorney’s Internal Investigation

Introduction Picture this: you are on-site at a new client’s headquarters for a weeklong hostile work environment investigation into several internal complaints made against the CEO and CFO. This is the first engagement for the client so you want to do as comprehensive a job as possible to leave a positive first impression (which will... Continue Reading
September 1, 2022

Seventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment Ruling Against Illinois Employee Who Refused to Participate in Sale of Product Banned in New York

A recent Seventh Circuit decision interpreting Illinois law affirmed the district court’s ruling that an employee’s refusal to engage in activity illegal in New York, but not in Illinois, was neither protected under the Illinois Whistleblower Act (“IWA”) nor under a common-law retaliatory discharge theory. In Perez v. Staples Contract & Commercial, LLC, Perez, a... Continue Reading
June 13, 2022

California Courts Have Found Two Statutes Requiring Diversity in the Makeup of Public Company Boards of Directors Unconstitutional

In April, a Los Angeles Superior Court held that Assembly Bill (AB) 979 which required publicly-held corporations headquartered in California to diversify by adding “underrepresented communities” to their board of directors, was unconstitutional. On May 13, 2022, a second Los Angeles Superior Court found Senate Bill (SB) 826, which required gender diversity on the boards of directors... Continue Reading
June 1, 2022

ESG Taking Center Stage At The SEC – What Can Publicly Traded Employers Expect?

A phrase first coined in 2005, environmental, social, and corporate governance (“ESG”) is making headlines.   ESG is a lens applied by investors to evaluate the extent to which corporations function with respect to a variety of pro-social goals.  The term “ESG” is often used interchangeably with terms like “sustainable investing” or “socially responsible investing.”  Both... Continue Reading
May 16, 2022

Goodbye to McDonnell Douglas Under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act?

On April 6, 2022, Minnesota’s Supreme Court in Lori Dowling Hanson v. State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources affirmed the lower courts’ summary dismissal of a Minnesota Whistleblower Act (“MWA”) claim brought by a former Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) employee Lori Dowling Hanson (“Hanson”). The case left unanswered the fate of McDonnell Douglas... Continue Reading
May 16, 2022

Refreshing Whistleblower Processes for the Remote Workplace:  Best Practices

At the onset of COVID in 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that over a three-month period, there were a deluge of tips, complaints and possible referrals to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). More recently, the SEC has reported record whistleblower awards. And although the extent to which remote work has contributed to... Continue Reading
April 11, 2022

California Superior Court Finds AB 979 is Unconstitutional

On September 30, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 979, which required publicly held corporations headquartered in California to diversify their boards of directors with directors from “underrepresented communities” by December 31, 2021. AB 979 followed similar legislation in Senate Bill (SB) 826, which required gender diversity on boards of directors. Read more here. Continue Reading
April 6, 2022