International Employment Law Review - United States: September 2014

September 11, 2014

EEOC Challenges to Employer Separation Agreements
In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 14-cv-863 (N.D. Ill., February 7, 2014), the EEOC alleged that a severance agreement used by CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (“CVS”) violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it is “overly broad, misleading and unenforceable....” According to the EEOC, CVS engaged in a pattern or practice of “resistance” to Title VII rights by utilizing a severance agreement that allegedly “deters the filing of charges and interferes with employees’ ability to communicate voluntarily with the EEOC and [Fair Employment Practices Agencies].”

U.S. Supreme Court Dramatically Expands Whistleblower Law
On March 4, 2014, the U.S. Supreme court in Lawson v. FMR, LLC, 134 S.Ct. 1158, held in a 6-3 decision that employees of a private company that is a contractor or subcontractor of public company are entitled to whistleblower protections under §806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The Court reversed the prior decision of the First Circuit Court of Appeals and resolved an important split among authorities about the scope of SOX coverage.

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