Mar. 15, 2023

DOJ Incentivizes Self-Disclosure Once More With Guidance for U.S. Attorneys’ Offices

New DOJ guidance for U.S. Attorneys’ Offices addressing voluntary self-disclosures is intended to bring consistency and transparency to self-reporting, and is ultimately intended to foster more self-reporting by corporate wrongdoers. Addressing the new guidance earlier this month, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said that having one self-disclosure policy for all U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will eliminate “geographic disparities and uncertainties.” Formally called the United States Attorneys’ Offices Voluntary Self-Disclosure Policy, the guidance promises that companies that voluntarily self-disclose misconduct pursuant to the policy “will receive resolutions under more favorable terms than if the government had learned of the misconduct through other means.” As appealing as that might seem, this latest entry to the DOJ canon must be read in the context of other recent DOJ pronouncements that may influence exactly whether, when and to whom a corporate wrongdoer might disclose that bad behavior. See “Deputy Assistant AG Miller Discusses Robust DOJ Anti-Corruption Efforts, Stressing Individual Accountability, Self-Reporting, Remediation and Cooperation” (Mar. 1, 2023).

Compliance Takeaways From Activision Blizzard's $35-Million SEC Resolution Regarding Whistleblower Protections and Workplace Misconduct

Activision Blizzard Inc., a California-based video game development and publishing company, has agreed to pay $35 million to settle charges that it failed to maintain disclosure controls and procedures to ensure that the company could assess whether its disclosures pertaining to its workforce, specifically allegations of misconduct, were adequate. As part of the resolution, Activision Blizzard also settled charges that it violated an SEC whistleblower protection rule. Notable aspects of the settlement include a rarely seen dissenting opinion by SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce that takes exception to the SEC’s standing in this case and the underlying arguments of harm to investors, and the SEC's use of fairly broad risk statements found in Activision’s regular business filings related to attracting and retaining talent as evidence of a known problem with the company’s culture. The Anti-Corruption Report spoke with Ropes & Gray partner Jeremiah Williams and senior advisor Hui Chen about the resolution and what it signals for compliance practitioners. See “ Discussing 2022 Enforcement Results, SEC Enforcement Director Stresses Trust-Building Measures” (Jan. 18, 2023).

What Employers Should Know About the FTC’s Proposed Ban on Non Compete Provisions

The use of non‑compete provisions and other restrictive covenants has long been a tool used by employers to protect confidential information and trade secrets, valuable client relationships, and goodwill. On January 5, 2023, the FTC announced its intention to effect a sea change in this area, issuing a proposed rule, that, if implemented, would prohibit the use of non-compete clauses with employees in virtually all circumstances. In this guest article, Dechert attorneys J. Ian Downes and Jeffrey W. Rubin discuss the FTC’s proposed rule, the backdrop against which it was raised, the challenges to enactment of the proposed rule in its current form, and the steps that employers should consider now in the face of legal headwinds that, at the very least, seem likely to lead to increasing scrutiny of the use of restrictive covenants. See “The Impact of New York City’s New Wage Transparency Law on Hiring” (Mar. 1, 2023).

Silicon Valley Bank: Receivership, Ripple Effects and Reactions

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, and the government’s actions, may have repercussions that reach into various industries. In this article, our sister publication Debtwire provides an overview of the FDIC and the receivership process, and highlights some of the effects of the bank’s failure on other companies, both in and out of Chapter 11.

Lessons From Hive Ransomware Multinational Takedown

A multinational law enforcement operation seized control of digital infrastructure used by Hive ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) criminal group at the end of January, cutting off its ability to extort its victims. After infiltrating the group’s network last summer, federal agents were able to identify targets and obtain decryption keys that prevented about 300 victims across the globe from paying $130 million worth of demanded extortion payments. In this first article of a two-part series, with insights from legal and cybersecurity experts, we discuss the history and tactics of Hive, the takedown and contributing factors to the decline in ransomware. Part two will offer measures to prevent these attacks and discuss the importance of coordination with law enforcement, including how it worked in this instance. See our two-part series on a ransomware tabletop’s 360-degree incident response view: “Days One to Four” (Feb. 1, 2022); and “Day Five Through Post-Mortem” (Feb. 15, 2023).