For the first time, the SEC recently applied Rule 21F-17 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) outside the context of the traditional employer/employee relationship. Rule 21F-17 is a whistleblower protection that prohibits interference with an individual’s ability to communicate with the SEC about potential securities violations. Since Rule 21F-17’s adoption in August 2011, the SEC has enforced the rule only in the context of an employer/employee relationship—that is, where an employer allegedly interfered with an employee’s ability to speak with the SEC. That enforcement approach ended earlier this month when the SEC charged Collectors Café with violating the rule by allegedly interfering with an investor’s ability to communicate with the SEC about possible misconduct at the company.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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