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 Whistleblower.
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 Regional Office.
SandRidge agreed to a $1.4 million penalty without admitting or denying liability.