Search Site
Menu
SEC Issues First Ever Penalty for Internal Whistleblower Retaliation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that SandRidge Energy, an Oklahoma-based oil and gas company, would pay out $1.4 million to settle claims of retaliation against a whistleblower and use of illegal language in separation agreements with employees.

The penalty marked the first time ever a company was penalized for actions taken against a whistleblower who only reported his or her concerns internally, rather than to the SEC. There had only been two previous cases in which the SEC issued sanctions against a company for whistleblower retaliation, but both of those employees had reported internally and to the agency.

The employee had expressed internal concerns about the methods used to calculate SandRidge’s reserves. Several months later, senior management declared that employee to be disruptive, and wanted him replaced with someone who would work without causing any “internal strife.”

The case’s other charge of illegal restrictive language referred to language that prohibited employees from communicating with the SEC upon leaving their position. SandRidge became the second company in two days to reach a settlement with the SEC over such restrictive language. While SandRidge had conducted multiple reviews of these agreements since the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections went into effect in 2011, the company had failed to make changes to eliminate language that illegally targeted whistleblowers.

Take action after being a victim of whistleblower retaliation

There are more federal protections afforded to whistleblowers than ever before, including protections against retaliation and wrongful termination. If you believe you have been a victim of retaliation after raising concerns about company practices, contact a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers to learn more about your legal options.

Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    #600
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
Testimonials
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

FOLLOW US
Facebook Twitter Linkedin RSS Feed JD Supra