Many are calling 2012 the "Year of the Whistleblower." Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) whistleblower cases are proliferating at an exceptional rate, and SOX whistleblower plaintiffs are naming individuals in the C-suite as defendants with greater frequency. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Administrative Review Board has raised the stakes by substantially expanding the scope of what qualifies as protected activity under SOX and expanding the scope of SOX's coverage. And the new Dodd Frank whistleblower rules just complicated the landscape. Recognizing the importance of employees to the effectiveness of company compliance programs, as well as the risks associated with whistleblower claims, this presentation will focus on recent trends in whistleblower litigation and discuss the most effective methods of defending whistleblower cases in litigation before the DOL and federal courts alike, and discuss tools and techniques for appropriately responding to good faith whistleblowers and minimizing the risk of retaliation claims.
Steve Pearlman - Partner, Seyfarth Shaw's Labor & Employment Department; Co-Chair, Seyfarth Shaw's National Sarbanes-Oxley Act Whistleblower Team
Steve focuses his practice on complex employment litigation, with a particular emphasis on defending Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower cases. Steve has successfully tried cases to verdict in Illinois, Florida and California, and has defended the largest class action in the history of the Northern District of Illinois (over 95,000 class members). In addition, his practice places a particular emphasis on minimizing the risk of whistleblower claims by counseling companies to restructure their compliance programs and develop critical response teams that marry compliance, legal and human resource functions. He has pioneered this process using unique Lean Six Sigma-based methodologies. He recently appeared on Bloomberg News to debate the implications of the Dodd-Frank bounty provisions, and leading publications such as the Wall Street Journal turn to him for insight. The RAND Corporation also has turned to him for guidance and the U.S. Department of Labor invited Steve to serve as a stakeholder and submit amicus briefs. Steve was selected by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company as one of "40 attorneys under forty" to watch.
Randi V. Morrison - Attorney, Axiom Law; Assistant Editor, TheCorporateCounsel.net; Consultant, LRN Corp.
Randi has served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for two publicly traded companies, and has served as in-house counsel with public companies for 20 years. As in-house counsel and corporate secretary, she has overseen and actively participated in all aspects of corporate governance, including serving as the principal contact with the board of directors and significantly enhancing companies' corporate governance postures; myriad compliance and disclosure matters including those associated with the SEC, NYSE and SOX, as well as duties as co-chair of a Board-appointed Remediation Committee following an internal Audit Committee-led accounting investigation and associated SEC and DOJ investigations; M&A transactions (including the sale of her company to a competitor); numerous financing and capital raising transactions; executive compensation and benefits; and supervision and management of the Legal, Investor Relations, Internal Audit and Risk Management functions.
A long-time Society member, Randi is currently an Attorney with Axiom Law, Assistant Editor of TheCorporateCounsel.net, and a Consultant with LRN, a leading ethics and compliance provider for companies worldwide.
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