August 2016
On August 15 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued its second fine in six days to a health insurer for allegedly creating severance agreements that illegally restricted former employees from collecting awards as whistleblowers. The fines—totaling $605,000 between the two companies—signify a continued, strong shift toward enforcement against employment agreements that impede the SEC’s whistleblower program at a time when the Commission’s overall enforcement actions generally have slowed from last year. 

The most recent fine was issued against health insurer Health Net Inc., who agreed to pay $340,000 to end allegations that it required departing employees to waive their right to receive compensation for providing tips to the Commission. On August 10th, Atlanta building products distributor BlueLinx Holding, Inc. agreed to pay a $265,000 fine to cut off similar claims. Although their companies operate in different industries, the actions against them show striking similarities.

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