The Inbox - Independence Day Edition

| O'Neill, Ashley

Happy 4th of July! While many Americans enjoy a festive day of parades, barbecues and fireworks, let’s see if this week’s highlights spark your interest:

  • The American Apparel/Dov Charney feud seems set to implode as the parties fire missiles and missives at one another. According to Fortune, Mr. Charney requested a special shareholder meeting in an attempt to increase the number of sympathetic directors on the board while also reporting in a regulatory filing that he is working with investment firm Standard General to amass a controlling interest. Meanwhile, American Apparel responded by adopting a poison pill which would cap a shareholder or group of shareholders interest at 15 percent.
  • Bloomberg reported that the former employees of Goldman Sachs, who have alleged gender bias in their suit against it, ignited a class certification request on Tuesday. In support of their motion, the plaintiffs argued that female vice presidents and associates were systematically paid and promoted less than their male counterparts in the investment banking, management and securities divisions since September 10, 2002.   
  • New York’s highest court effectively removed the heat from the pleading requirement in whistleblower suits making it more difficult for employers to dismiss claims before answering the complaint. According to the ruling cited by Law360, a plaintiff is not required to identify a specific law, rule or regulation allegedly violated by the employer in the complaint.
  • For the first time, the SEC invoked the anti-retaliation provision of the Dodd-Frank Act to fine Paradigm Capital Management $2.2 million for actions allegedly taken against an unnamed whistleblower. The fine may not be large according to Forbes, but it can be considered a huge display of the SEC’s stated aversion to employer retaliation.    
  • With all the colors of a fireworks display, Benjamin Moore & Co. is known for its multi-dimensional color swatch. Two such colors, Clinton Brown and Tucker Chocolate, were cited in a complaint against the company by a former employee. As reported by Law360, the plaintiff, Clinton Tucker, a gay, African American man, alleged discrimination and claimed that he was denied raises and advancement opportunities based on his race.