Practice Areas & Industries: Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

 




Ethics Compliance, Investigations and Whistleblower Response Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Ogletree Deakins provides clients with innovative and business-oriented solutions to compliance issues across every facet of labor and employment law. Our lawyers work with clients to design effective compliance measures, assist in audits and investigations, and defend clients in relation to compliance as well as retaliation claims.

The rapid expansion of additional legislation and regulation related to employee anti-retaliation protections, especially for whistleblowing activities across a number of industries, requires that clients be able to access immediately lawyers with very specific and sophisticated knowledge and experience in counseling, investigating, and litigating under these laws.

Ogletree Deakins’ Ethics Compliance, Investigations and Whistleblower Response Practice Group works with clients in handling compliance issues, investigations, and other matters arising under the panoply of laws related to whistleblower activities, including the following: False Claims Act; Sarbanes-Oxley Act; Consumer Financial Protection Improvement Act; Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; Energy Reorganization Act; Occupational Safety and Health Act; Mine Safety and Health Act; Wendell H. Ford Aviation and Reform Act for the 21st Century; Pipeline Safety Improvement Act; Surface Transportation Assistance Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; Solid Waste Disposal Act; Federal Water Pollution Control Act; and Clean Air Act.

Experience and Proactive Assistance

Our lawyers have deep experience representing clients in whistleblower matters. This includes the representation of clients in False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation and qui tam cases; Sarbanes-Oxley investigations and litigation; Dodd-Frank investigations; Occupational Safety and Health Act retaliation investigations and litigation; and investigations and litigation under other industry-specific anti-retaliation laws.

We are able to assist clients in connection with:

  • Training
  • Counseling
  • Audits
  • Policy design and review
  • Procedure design and review
  • Document retention design and review
  • Internal investigations
  • Agency representation
  • Litigation and appeals

Effective Handling of Sensitive Matters

Our lawyers work with our clients directly, as well as with corporate compliance counsel and appropriate subject matter experts, to ensure compliance, thorough and responsible investigations, and vigorous and effective defense of claims related to these laws. We work with clients to solve highly-sensitive situations involving key executives and assist clients in managing comprehensive workplace crises. Our excellent working relationships and track record of credibility with investigative and enforcement agencies work to our clients’ benefit in these sensitive and high-profile matters of central concern to their businesses.

In addition, our lawyers are mindful that every whistleblower complaint carries the risk of a subsequent retaliation claim. Accordingly, our practice group lawyers can assist our clients in developing best practices for responding to the challenges of managing a whistleblowing investigation to manage that risk successfully and assist our clients in following those practices in real time.


 
 
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

NYC Cares for Caregivers: New Bill Awaiting Mayor’s Signature Would Make Caregivers a Protected Class
Sonu Ray, January 18, 2016
On December 16, 2015, the New York City Council passed a bill prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees based on their actual or perceived status as a caregiver. The new law would establish caregiver status as a new protected class under the New York City Human Rights Law, and...

New Jersey Appellate Court Rules Arbitration Agreement in Employee Handbook Unenforceable
Robin Koshy,Steven J. Luckner,Evan J. Shenkman, January 18, 2016
In C.M. v. Maiden Re Insurance Services, LLC, No. L-3622-13 (App. Div. Sept. 18, 2015), the New Jersey Appellate Division held that an employee was not compelled to arbitrate her employment discrimination claims, notwithstanding her confirmed receipt of a handbook containing an arbitration...

Pay Transparency Rule to Go Into Effect on Same Day as OFCCP’s Webinar
Hera S. Arsen,Leigh M. Nason, January 18, 2016
On Monday, January 11, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) final rule on pay transparency, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants “who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their own compensation or the compensation...

New Brunswick New Jersey’s Paid Sick & Safe Leave Law Goes Into Effect
Robin Koshy,Steven J. Luckner,Evan J. Shenkman, January 15, 2016
On December 17, 2015, the City of New Brunswick passed its own paid sick leave ordinance, making it the eleventh municipality in the State of New Jersey to require paid sick leave. The ordinance becomes effective on January 6, 2016, but employees must wait until May 5, 2016 (or 120 days after they...

A New Year’s Resolution for California Employers: Fair Pay Act Compliance
Hera S. Arsen,Christopher W. Olmsted, January 11, 2016
California employers are preparing for the effects the Fair Pay Act—the new law signed by Governor Brown last October that significantly changes California’s gender equality pay law. Senate Bill 358 (SB 358), which went into effect on January 1, 2016, requires employers to pay employees...

How Federal Preemption Affects Local and State Labor Peace Agreements
David F. Loeffler, January 11, 2016
Unions have been largely unsuccessful in their efforts to organize employees and negotiate first contracts within the system created by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Only about 7 percent of the private-sector labor force is unionized. Consequently, unions have adopted new organizing...

Minimum Wage Changes to New York’s Fast Food Industry: New Hospitality Wage Order & FAQs
Seth D. Kaufman, January 11, 2016
As we previously discussed in May and July of this year, wage and hour requirements for the fast food industry in New York State are changing starting in the new year. These changes, which go into effect on December 31, 2015, result from recommendations made by the Fast Food Wage Board, which...

Worth the Wait: Will USCIS Draft Policy Guidance Bring Greater Job Portability and Career Advancement for Foreign Workers and Their Employers in 2016?
Diane M. Rish, January 11, 2016
On November 20, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a highly anticipated draft policy memorandum for public review and comment that provides guidance to USCIS Immigration Services Officers (ISOs) on evaluating whether one job is in “the same or a...

DHS Issues Proposed Rule for Changes to Employment of High-Skilled Foreign Workers
Jacob D. Cherry, January 08, 2016
On December 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning employment-based visa programs for high-skilled workers. The notice is published in the December 31, 2015 Federal Register and is subject to a 60-day comment period ending...

Preparing for the Upcoming Amendments to the FLSA Overtime Regulations: A Toolkit for Retail and Hospitality Employers
Diane M. Saunders,Liz S. Washko, January 08, 2016
As we have previously reported, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), specifically as to the criteria for the Part 541 “white collar” exemptions, are projected to have an enormous impact on retail and hospitality...

New Jersey Annual Notice Reminders With Deadlines Fast Approaching
Mark Diana,Steven J. Luckner,Jocelyn A. Merced,Evan J. Shenkman, January 07, 2016
New Jersey employers should be aware of two impending annual notice requirements. First, employers must distribute to each employee working in New Jersey a written copy of the Gender Equity Notice on or before December 31 each year and must obtain a signed acknowledgement from each employee in...

Philadelphia Goes Beyond Ban the Box
Jacqueline R. Barrett,Julie Donahue,Emily K. O'Brian, January 07, 2016
On December 15, 2015, Mayor Michael Nutter signed a bill amending Philadelphia’s “ban the box” law, formally titled the Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards Ordinance, which was enacted in 2011. With these amendments, Philadelphia’s ordinance joins New York City’s...

Revised “Persuader” Reporting Requirements Are Back
Harold P. Coxson, January 07, 2016
Don't look now, but the U.S. Department of Labor’s latest Fall 2015 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda advances the controversial proposed revisions to the "persuader activity" reporting requirements under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). Final regulatory...

California’s New Piece-Rate Compensation Requirements and a New Affirmative Defense Take Effect January 1, 2016
Hera S. Arsen, January 04, 2016
On October 10, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1513, which added new requirements with regard to employees who work on a piece-rate basis. The new law, which amends California Labor Code section 226.2, changes the way employers are required to pay employees paid on a...

Elizabeth Becomes the Tenth New Jersey City to Require Paid Sick Leave
Mark Diana,Steven J. Luckner,Jocelyn A. Merced,Evan J. Shenkman, January 04, 2016
On November 3, 2015, voters in the City of Elizabeth approved a paid sick leave ordinance, making it the tenth municipality in the State of New Jersey to require paid sick leave. The ordinance, which goes into effect on March 2, 2016 (120 days after voter approval) is nearly identical to sick leave...

Jersey City Expands Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to Small Businesses, Increases Penalties for Noncompliance
Mark Diana,Steven J. Luckner,Jocelyn A. Merced,Evan J. Shenkman, January 04, 2016
On October 30, 2015, the Jersey City mayor approved a change to the city’s existing paid sick leave law (Ordinance 15.145), purportedly to bring the sick leave ordinance more in line with those of other New Jersey cities that have since passed their own paid sick leave ordinances. One major...

Mexico Increases the Minimum Wage Effective January 1, 2016
Pietro Straulino-Rodriguez, January 04, 2016
On December 11, 2015, the Council of Representatives of the National Minimum Wage Commission, pursuant to a vote to determine the minimum wage held every year, unanimously decided to increase the daily minimum wage by 4.2 percent in 2016.

New Jersey Advances Bill to Ban Most Employee Credit Checks
Mark Diana,Steven J. Luckner,Jocelyn A. Merced,Evan J. Shenkman, January 04, 2016
On December 14, 2015, the New Jersey Assembly Labor Committee released another bill-A2298-seeking to prohibit most credit checks on employees. Essentially the same as prior bills that failed in the New Jersey legislature (including those we reported on in 2010 and in 2012), A2298 would prohibit...

BOLI Issues Guidance on New Oregon Statewide Sick Leave Law
James M. Barrett, December 16, 2015
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has issued additional guidance on complying with the new Oregon statewide mandatory paid sick leave law, Senate Bill 454, OL 2015, Ch. 537, which takes effect on January 1, 2016.

Do I or Don't I?—Alcoholism and Accommodations in the Workplace
Lara C. de Leon, December 16, 2015
Any college football fan can attest that this has been quite the year for upsets. As interesting as the on-field action has been, we have seen increasing media attention and fan commentary focused on the action off the field—especially on the activities of college football coaches and players.

For California Employers, New Year Brings New Restrictions—Along With a Few Silver Linings
Christopher W. Olmsted,Keith A. Watts, December 16, 2015
In 2015, the California legislature undoubtedly took aim at employers with piecemeal legislation covering everything from cheerleaders (who are now employees by statute) to gender-based pay differentials—the latter with what is now the nation’s most aggressive “equal pay”...

Hillsborough County, Florida Passes Wage Theft Ordinance
Edmund J. McKenna, December 16, 2015
On October 21, 2015, the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners enacted the “Hillsborough County Wage Recovery Ordinance.” By it terms, the ordinance applies to all employers within Hillsborough County and any company with an employee or independent contractor who performs work...

New Pinellas County Wage Theft Ordinance Goes Into Effect January 1
Edmund J. McKenna, December 16, 2015
The commissioners of Pinellas County recently adopted a wage theft ordinance that will become effective on January 1, 2016. The ordinance provides that if any employer fails to pay wages of at least $60 due to an employee 14 days or more from the date the work was performed, the failure to pay will...

New Regulatory Agenda Contains Surprises
Harold P. Coxson, December 16, 2015
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) just-released Fall 2015 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda and Plan Statement contains several surprises for federal labor and employment rulemaking. Although the timetables are often aspirational and not met, the announced agency goals for regulatory actions...

Overview and Guidance on Final Joint Standards on Diversity and Inclusion
Nonnie L. Shivers, December 16, 2015
On June 9, 2015, several federal agencies jointly issued a policy statement on standards that companies could use to assess their diversity policies and practices, particularly for entities regulated by more than one agency. The Federal Reserve Board, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,...

Texas Supreme Court Vindicates Employer That Uniformly Enforced its Leave Policy
Tiffany L. Cox, December 16, 2015
On December 4, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court vacated a jury verdict in favor of a former employee who had alleged workers’ compensation retaliation, rendering judgment in favor of the employer and finding that the employee had not presented evidence that his termination had resulted from...

The DOL’s Fall 2015 Regulatory Agenda: Does it Really Shed Light on the Timing for a Final Overtime Rule?
Hera S. Arsen,Alfred B. Robinson, December 16, 2015
Approximately three months after the comment period closed on the proposal from the Obama administration and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to revise the Part 541 overtime regulations, the DOL issued its Fall 2015 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda that includes a statement on the timing for a final...

The Minimum Wage Battle Is Heating Up and Retail Is Fighting Back
Diane M. Saunders, December 16, 2015
Over the past two years, we have seen minimum wage hikes in states and cities (such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Emeryville) across the country as labor groups push for a universal $15 per hour minimum wage. With the presidential elections coming, organized labor is reinvigorating...

Washington Snapshot: Leadership Contests and a Push to Break Legislative Limbo in the Nation’s Capital
Harold P. Coxson, December 16, 2015
For many in the country, the term "Washington leadership" is an oxymoron, and calling someone a "Washington insider" may be an epithet rather than a compliment. The truth remains, however, that developments in Washington, D.C., especially at the federal regulatory agencies,...

CDLE’s Official Guidance on Use-It-Or-Lose-It Vacation Policies: Still Prohibited
Steven R. Reid,Austin E. Smith,Roger G. Trim, December 15, 2015
The use of so-called “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation pay policies is receiving significant attention in Colorado, both from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and from employers trying to make sense of the CDLE’s recent announcements. A typical use-it-or-lose-it...

Louisiana Workforce Commission Finds Employers Misclassify Workers as Independent Contractors
Andrew P. Burnside,Katherine E. Pizzini, December 15, 2015
The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) is on track for a second consecutive record-setting year in identifying workers misclassified by employers as independent contractors, according to a recent announcement by the LWC. In 2014, Louisiana led the nation with the LWC finding an average of 11...

Final New Jersey Ban-the-Box Regulations Issued Today, Effective Immediately
Mark Diana,Evan J. Shenkman, December 10, 2015
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) published its long awaited, final “ban-the-box” regulations today, which take effect immediately. The final regulations, and the NJDOL’s comments to the regulations, clarify the following issues regarding New...

“Deaf Culture” Expert to Testify at Trial? Judge Allows EEOC to Test the Limits
James M. Paul, December 09, 2015
In the last couple of years, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has prosecuted at least 12 lawsuits on behalf of deaf or hard-of-hearing employees or job applicants. And, within the last 10 years, the U.S. Department of...

Is an Offshore Rig a Single Site of Employment Under WARN?
Jessica M. Knapp,Christopher E. Moore, December 09, 2015
A federal judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana recently issued an important ruling for oil field employers conducting layoffs. In Voisin v. Axxis Drilling, Inc. (October 21, 2015), the court held that for the purposes of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN...

Portland’s New Ban-the-Box Ordinance Imposes Stricter Rules Than State Law
Leah C. Lively,Kathryn P. Roberts, December 09, 2015
On November 25, 2015, the Portland City Council passed an ordinance restricting an employer’s ability to inquire regarding a job applicant’s criminal history. As of July 1, 2016, Portland employers with six or more employees will be prohibited from soliciting information regarding an...