WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) –
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Dec. 20 that Oklahoma
City-based SandRidge Energy Inc. agreed to settle allegations of using illegal
separation agreements and retaliating against a whistle-blower.
“Whistle-blowers who step
forward and raise concerns internally to their companies about potential
securities law violations should be protected from retaliation regardless of
whether they have filed a complaint with the SEC,” said Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s Office of the
According to the SEC,
SandRidge used restrictive language that banned outgoing employees from
disclosing information about the company. Additionally, SandRidge purportedly
fired an internal whistle-blower who repeatedly voiced concerns about the way
the company calculated publicly reported oil and gas reserves.
“Ignoring a rule that
protects communications between outgoing employees and the SEC, SandRidge
flatly prohibited such contact in their separation agreements and at the same
time retaliated against an employee who raised concerns about the company to
its management,” said Shamoil T. Shipchandler, director of the SEC’s Fort Worth
SandRidge agreed to a $1.4
million penalty without admitting or denying liability.