Sullivan & Cromwell has broad experience in conducting clients' most sensitive and complex corporate and workplace internal investigations. The Firm has recently investigated, reported on and resolved whistleblower claims and retaliation allegations brought against senior executives and corporations in a variety of industries.
 
S&C's Whistleblower Litigation and Workplace Investigations Group includes eight former federal and state prosecutors; former bank regulatory counsel; and leading practitioners in banking, employment and securities and commodities regulation and enforcement.
 
The Firm also routinely works with clients to assure measures are in place to address potential legal risks and to establish effective policies and procedures.
 
The Firm regularly advises clients, including through expedited and thorough internal investigations, on concerns regarding:
  • federal and state false claims act claims;
  • potential violations of federal and state law;
  • information technology and compliance concerns; and
  • employee complaints of co-worker misconduct, including harassment, financial misconduct or other violations of corporate policy.
In addition, the Group advises clients on human resources best practices, including the implementation of policies relating to whistleblowers, employee relations, termination, harassment and conflict resolution.

SELECTED REPRESENTATIONS

Sullivan & Cromwell’s recent whistleblower litigation and workplace investigations experience includes representing:
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, in whistleblower litigation originally filed in Michigan State Court in May 2019 asserting claims under Michigan’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, and for violation of Michigan public policy and unjust enrichment related to FCA’s decision to defer Plaintiff’s long term incentive shares and an annual bonus for 2018 pending an ongoing internal investigation and investigation by the SEC regarding FCA’s former monthly sales reporting practices. The parties reached a settlement in January 2020.
     
  • A large financial institution, in a whistleblower retaliation case and related employment action. S&C has successfully litigated all phases of the case, including a three-day bench trial before a Department of Labor administrative law judge.
     
  • Barclays Bank PLC, in successfully resolving employment-related whistleblower, breach of contract and indemnification claims brought by three former derivatives traders seeking payment of legal fees in connection with their UK criminal trial regarding alleged USD LIBOR-related conduct.
     
  • Goldman Sachs, in an action brought by a former managing director claiming whistleblower retaliation, defamation and related common law claims in connection with the termination of his employment. Goldman Sachs’ motion to compel arbitration of the claims was granted in July 2019.
     
  • Wells Fargo and employees named as individual defendants, in several wrongful termination litigations filed by former employees in New Jersey state and federal courts asserting claims of slander and violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the State’s whistleblower statute, the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act. In one case, S&C identified an applicable arbitration agreement and is seeking plaintiff’s consent to move the matter to arbitration.
     
  • A global financial institution, in connection with U.S. investigations of allegations that senior management failed to properly follow the bank’s policies and procedures concerning whistleblowers.
     
  • A FinTech company, in conducting an internal investigation of the company’s culture and responding to high-profile allegations of a toxic environment due to sexual harassment and misconduct.
     
  • A former senior executive, in a wrongful termination suit brought by a former subordinate who alleges she was sexually harassed and terminated in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint with the company against S&C’s client.
     
  • A company, in connection with an anonymous letter raising allegations of racial bias in connection with the company’s hiring and promotion practices and concerns about the company’s perceived lack of responsiveness to employee complaints. The letter threatened to bring these issues to the press if they were not addressed. S&C conducted an internal investigation into the merits of these complaints and an assessment of the company’s culture. S&C presented the findings of this investigation to a special committee of the board and will review initiatives the company will implement to create a more effective and diverse workplace.
     
  • A global financial institution, in successfully resolving investigations by the DOJ and SEC concerning allegations raised by a former senior employee on the company’s whistleblower hotline and in the media.