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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

  • 05
  • March
  • 2019

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Mind the Gap: Middle Management’s Critical Role in Compliance

In order to effectively drive a culture of ethical conduct, companies must ensure that compliance priorities set by executive leadership extend to even the lowest level employees. Establishing an appropriate ‘tone at the top’ with the Board and senior leadership resonates with most companies, but it is easy to overlook the application of compliance standards to middle managers and supervisors.

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The Importance of Investigation Protocols Amid Heightened Corporate Exposure

In the face of well-publicized corporate scandals such as #MeToo, and in response to heightened corporate accountability standards under Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, internal investigations serve as a critical component of an effective governance and corporate compliance program. While companies recognize the need to conduct internal investigations to respond to allegations of potential misconduct, many companies have not adopted a written investigation policy or protocol.

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Internships Are Not Bribes, Right? Don't Bank on It.

The SEC announced last week another agreement by an international bank to pay approximately $30 million to resolve charges in connection with alleged improper hiring practices in the Asia Pacific region to influence foreign officials. The financial giant in this agreement joins several banks recently resolving FCPA charges in connection employment practices overseas.

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SEC’s Safe-Harbor Whistleblower Provision Proves Treacherous to Companies

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) made additional waves since last month’s post, by recently announcing the first monetary award under the Dodd-Frank safe-harbor provisions. The Dodd-Frank Act allows individuals who report information about possible securities violations to the SEC to recover an award of between 10 and 30 percent of any sanctions levied of more than $1 million. To qualify for an award as a whistleblower, the information provided must be “original.” This means that the SEC needed to receive the information from the whistleblower first, and not from another agency. There is an exception to this rule however (called the “safe harbor”): As long as the whistleblower sends the information to the SEC within 120 days after first reporting the same information to another agency, then the SEC will treat the information as original.

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The SEC Is Upping the Ante and "Whistles" Are Getting Expensive

Following the financial crisis and the discovery of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, Congress passed the Dodd Frank Act, which expanded substantially the SEC’s whistleblower program and established the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. Under this new regulatory scheme, whistleblowers were eligible to receive an award of between 10 and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected, including any sanctions that might be levied in parallel investigations brought by other regulators including DOJ. Since 2010, the SEC has awarded whistleblowers a number of large awards, including several awards in the multi-million dollar range, the largest of which until now was for $30 million in 2014.

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Contributors

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner