In a recent speech, the SEC recently warned businesses not to attempt to disincentivize company whistleblowers from bringing alleged wrongdoing to the attention of the SEC, and that the SEC is “very concerned” about any attempts to dissuade whistleblowing. The SEC also noted that the number of whistleblower tips it receives is growing, and those tips are beginning to result in enforcement actions.

This serves as a good reminder that employees cannot be precluded, or even discouraged, from filing claims with government agencies, even in the context of executing a general release of claims and covenant not to sue. Employers should carefully review their workplace policies and separation agreements to ensure that they do not discourage the filing of claims with government agencies.