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Recent Developments in Whistleblower Reward and Retaliation Claims Including Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Claims

Recent Developments in Whistleblower Reward and Retaliation Claims Including Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Claims
Product Code - LGN243
Speaker(s): Christopher Ehrman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Sean McKessy, Securities and Exchange Commission; Steven J. Pearlman, Proskauer Rose LLP; Anthony Rosa, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration; Jason Zuckerman, Zuckerman Law
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Employee whistleblower retaliation claims under a range of laws, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts, are on the rise, and whistleblowers now have a significant financial incentive to report fraud to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Though there is a definite spike in whistleblower claims implicating financial and accounting-related issues, they can arise in virtually all business functions and include alleged compliance failures ranging from violations of the Code of Conduct to infractions of securities laws or criminal fraud. It is critical to understand the robust protections available to whistleblowers and the financial incentives for employees to report fraud directly to the government.

The faculty presenting this program will address the latest cutting-edge developments in Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claims, including:

• Practical implications of the recent U.S. Supreme Court's Lawson v. FMR LLC decision;
• An update on the SEC and CFTC whistleblower reward program;
• Whether internal disclosures are protected under Dodd-Frank;
• ARB, federal and state court guidance on the use of purloined documents in whistleblower retaliation claims;
• Extraterritorial application of Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank;
• Trends in OSHA enforcement of whistleblower protection laws; and
• Whether Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims can be waived in separation agreements.

Educational Objectives:

• Understand the primary whistleblower laws and how OSHA, the SEC, and the CFTC investigate whistleblower disclosures and retaliation claims.
• Learn best practices for responding to whistleblower complaints, including appropriate questions, statements and documentation.
• Discover how the risk of whistleblower claims may be minimized.
• Find out how to address situations where a whistleblower takes confidential information from his or her employer.

Who would benefit most from attending this program?

In-house corporate counsel, labor and employment attorneys, human resource executives, financial professionals.

Program Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Prerequisite: A general understanding of corporate law or employment law.
CPE Delivery Method: Group Internet-Based Live
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge and Applications
Recommended CPE Credit: 1.5 credits
Anticipated CLE Credit: 1.5 credits (may vary based on from which jurisdiction requested)

For additional information, please see the “CE Credit” tab. 

Christopher Ehrman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Sean McKessy, Securities and Exchange Commission; Steven J. Pearlman, Proskauer Rose LLP; Anthony Rosa, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration; Jason Zuckerman, Zuckerman Law

Christopher Ehrman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Christopher Ehrman is the Director of the Whistleblower Office at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Section 748 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act established this whistleblower program, under which the CFTC will pay awards based on collected monetary sanctions to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide original information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act that lead either to a “covered judicial or administrative action” or a “related action.” Mr. Ehrman formerly served as an Assistant Director in the Office of Market Intelligence at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he oversaw the processing, review, and assignment of all tips, complaints, and referrals received by the SEC. He also formerly served as the Co-National Coordinator for the Microcap Fraud Working Group, a cross-divisional specialized group charged with creating novel ways to detect, disrupt and prosecute fraud relating to securities quoted on the OTC Market. Prior to joining OMI, he worked in a variety of other roles within the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, including Branch Chief, Senior Counsel, and Staff Attorney.

Mr. Ehrman earned a J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Miami University.

Sean McKessy, Securities and Exchange Commission
Sean McKessy is Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, Division of Enforcement. He re-joined the SEC in February 2011 to oversee this office, where he leads a program charged with handling whistleblowers’ tips and complaints and helping the Commission determine the awards for individuals who provide the agency with information that leads to successful enforcement actions. Mr. McKessy previously worked at the SEC from 1997 to 2000, serving as Senior Counsel in the Division of Enforcement. More recently, he served as corporate secretary for both Altria Group, Inc. and AOL Inc. and as securities counsel for Caterpillar, Inc. In these roles, Mr. McKessy developed and supervised internal compliance and reporting programs related to the federal securities laws, served as corporate compliance officer, and coordinated the reporting of potential violations to boards of directors.

Mr. McKessy earned a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

Steven J. Pearlman, Proskauer Rose LLP
Steven Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of Proskauer’s Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group, resident in the Chicago office. Mr. Pearlman’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination and harassment, wage-and-hour laws, and breaches of restrictive covenants such as non-competition agreements. He has successfully tried cases to verdict before judges and juries in Illinois, Florida, and California and has defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Mr. Pearlman is recognized for his accomplishments and thought leadership in the field of labor and employment law. He was one of just two lawyers named to the Ethisphere "Attorneys Who Matter" list in the area of labor and employment, one of five U.S. lawyers selected as a "Rising Star Under 40" in the area of employment law, and one of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" selected from a field of 1,200 nominees. He has also been named as an Illinois Super Lawyer and recognized by The U.S. Legal 500.

Mr. Pearlman earned a J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is admitted to practice in California and Illinois as well as before the California and Illinois Supreme Courts and many U.S. District Courts and Courts of Appeal.

Anthony Rosa, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Anthony Rosa is currently serving as the Acting Deputy Director for Whistleblower Protection Programs at OSHA. He has been with OSHA for more than 22 years, working first from the New York Regional Office and then transferring to the Tampa Area Office as a Compliance Assistance Specialist and then becoming the lead expert in whistleblower protection in Atlanta. Throughout Mr. Rosa’s career, he has assumed numerous positions within all program areas for OSHA, including compliance officer for state plan and consultation programs and compliance assistance for administrative programs including personnel and fiscal management, whistleblower programs, and audit programs. He also assumed a directorial position for a time in the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

Mr. Rosa’s expertise in occupational safety and health programs and whistleblower protection programs has been invaluable to the agency and primarily to Region IV, where an increase in merit determinations and settlements has been achieved.

Jason Zuckerman, Zuckerman Law
Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, discrimination, non-compete, and other employment-related claims. He also authors the Whistleblower Protection Law Blog. His broad experience includes practicing employment law at a national law firm, serving as a Principal at The Employment Law Group, and serving as Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency charged with protecting whistleblowers in the federal government. In 2012, the Secretary of Labor appointed Mr. Zuckerman to serve on the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor to improve OSHA’s administration of federal whistleblower protections.

Mr. Zuckerman earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he served as Articles Editor of the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, and a B.A. from Georgetown University, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. In law school, he received the University of Virginia School of Law’s Pro Bono Award for his advocacy on behalf of prison inmates and mentally disabled individuals and helped establish a successful pro bono program that encourages students to volunteer a minimum of 150 hours of pro bono service during law school. Mr. Zuckerman is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia as well as before the United States Supreme Court; the United States Court of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, and Federal Circuits; the United States District Court for the District of Columbia; the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; and the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

This program’s CLE-credit eligibility varies by state. Bloomberg BNA is an accredited provider in the states of New York*, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, and most other jurisdictions grant CLE credit on a per-program basis. At this time, Bloomberg BNA does not apply directly to the states of Florida, Rhode Island, Montana and Hawaii although credit is usually available for attorneys who wish to apply individually. Additionally, the following states currently do not grant credit for Bloomberg BNA OnDemand programming: Arkansas, Ohio, Nebraska, and Delaware. All requests are subject to approval once the live webinar has taken place or the customer has viewed the OnDemand version. Please contact the Bloomberg BNA accreditations desk if you have specific questions that have not been addressed.

*Bloomberg BNA is an accredited provider in New York for experienced attorneys only.

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Individual programs, subjects, and formats may not receive credit in some states and there may be specific rules regarding who may earn credit or the maximum number of credit hours that may be earned with specific formats. For specific questions, contact your state MCLE regulatory entity for specific questions about your MCLE rules or visit the American Bar Association’s website for general information on accreditation.

If you have further questions regarding a specific state or how to file for CE credit, please contact Bloomberg BNA customer service at 800-372-1033 and ask to speak to the CLE Accreditation Coordinator or send an email to