While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not released specific standards covering COVID-19, Michelle Strowhiro, a partner in the Los Angeles office of McDermott Will & Emery, is quoted in a recent ABA Journal article saying that employers could face risks under Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause if they don’t take steps to protect their workplace and ensure it is not exposed to individuals who may have contracted the virus.
SEC Whistleblower Update
The Supreme Court recently clarified the scope of SEC whistleblower retaliation provisions. Though the decision limits retaliation actions, employers should continue to avoid conduct that can be interpreted as retaliation under other statutes, and should find ways to encourage internal reporting.
SEC’s Large Payouts to Compliance-Officer Whistleblowers Highlight Need for Companies to Pay Prompt Attention
On April 22, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had awarded $1.4 million–$1.6 million to a compliance officer-turned-whistleblower who aided the SEC in an enforcement action against the officer’s employer. This marks the second time an employee with an internal audit or compliance function—who does not typically qualify under whistleblower rules—received an award under the SEC’s whistleblower program dictated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.