Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys Tim Garrett and Dustin Carlton authored an article outlining the actions employers should take to avoid violating the Dodd-Frank Act relating to confidentiality agreements. Rule 21F-17 was adopted by the SEC to prevent employers from taking any action that would prevent an employee from "directly communicating with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation." To highlight the risk, Tim and Dustin provided details related to the SEC's first enforcement action under Rule 21F-17 that was brought against a company for language found in the company's confidentiality agreement. As pointed out in the article, "employers should review confidentiality provisions in employee handbooks/codes of conduct, severance agreements, and practices for internal investigations" for any language that conflicts with Rule 21F-17.
The full article, "Hidden Risks in Confidentiality Requirements" was published in the August/September 2015 issue of Today's General Counsel and is available online.