Gregory (Greg) Keating, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Boston office, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal, in “SEC Fines Real-Estate Firm CBRE Over Violations of Whistleblower Protections,” by Mengqi Sun. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

CBRE Group agreed to pay a fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle allegations the commercial real-estate investment firm’s separation agreements prevented potential whistleblowers from reporting to the regulator. 

The $375,000 settlement, announced Tuesday, is the latest of SEC’s efforts to probe into various agreements companies ask employees to sign, including nondisclosure agreements, that could contain language preventing the reporting of possible federal security law violations, whistleblower attorneys said. …

Gregory C. Keating, a partner at law firm Epstein Becker & Green who counsels companies on employment disputes, including whistleblower defense and investigations, said such settlements are significant because they demonstrate that the SEC is becoming more aggressive on enforcement as it examines all kinds of companies for language in agreements that may stop whistleblowing reporting, both during or after employment. 

“It just means that employers are going to have to take a very hard look at all their agreements and modify accordingly, or they might be in the next press release,” Keating said, adding that it is always good to look into revising such documents in a changing regulatory environment. “Not doing anything right now is definitely not the right move,” he said. 

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