Steven J. Pearlman

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Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm's Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation; wage-and-hour laws; breach of employment contract; and restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements). Steven is also at the forefront of defending whistleblower retaliation claims, and routinely conducts investigations arising from whistleblower reports. He has successfully tried cases to verdict in Illinois, Florida and California, and defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He has also testified in defense of his investigations in federal court.

Latest Articles

On October 22, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a first-impression whistleblower retaliation claim under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”).  Johnson v. Oystacher, No. 15-cv-02263. Background Plaintiff and Defendant went into business together in January 2011, with Plaintiff acting as Chief Risk Officer and Defendant handling the company’s volume futures trading.  They split ownership of the company by 10% and 90% respectively.  In…
On October 2, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania federal court denied a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a SOX whistleblower retaliation claim, reasoning that Plaintiff sufficiently alleged that he engaged in protected activity and that his protected activity was a contributing factor in his termination.  But it dismissed the Dodd-Frank whistleblower claim because Plaintiff only provided information to the SEC after his employment was terminated.  Wutherich v. Rice Energy
On September 5th, Proskauer partner Steve Pearlman had the honor of delivering a webinar with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, which Proskauer senior associate Danielle Moss moderated.  Commissioner Feldblum is the co-author of the EEOC’s report on rebooting harassment prevention. The webinar focused on how the #MeToo movement has impacted workplace dynamics and discussed innovative solutions for preventing sexual harassment.…
On September 6, 2018, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower awarded $39 million to one whistleblower and $15 million to another. The $39 million award is the second-largest award in the history of the program, behind a $50 million award made in March of this year. The Chief of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower, Jane Norberg, said in a press release that “[w]histleblowers serve as invaluable sources of information, and can propel an investigation…
Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law a bill that expands protections for employees needing to express breast milk in the workplace.  The law amends the preexisting Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act (the “Act”) in several significant ways—most notably that break time provided for the expression of milk “may not reduce an employee’s compensation” regardless of the length of the break.  The amendments took effect immediately upon enactment on August 21, 2018. The Act…
On May 29, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama granted a motion to dismiss in part Plaintiff’s whistleblower retaliation claims under SOX on the grounds that the Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies against the Defendant CEO.  Wingo v. S. Co., 17-cv-01328. Background.  Plaintiff, a Project Manager, informed his supervisor that a project was on track for a delayed Commercial Operation Date (“COD”).   Plaintiff alleged that after he informed…
The ARB recently affirmed a motion for summary decision against a Complainant claiming retaliatory discharge under SOX, finding that he failed to demonstrate that he engaged in protected activity and that the Company would have discharged him in the absence of any protected activity given his misconduct. Latigo v. ENI Trading & Shipping, 2018 DOL Ad. Rev. Bd. LEXIS 15, Arb. No. 16-076, ALJ No. 2015-SOX-031 (Mar. 8, 2018). Complainant, a trading analyst, was hired…
On April 23, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that a plaintiff’s SOX claim precluded his claim for common law retaliatory discharge.  Cohen v. Power Solutions International, Inc., No. 17-cv-4385. Plaintiff, a COO, claimed that in early 2016, he became suspicious of the Company’s financial dealings and believed the Company “had engaged in sham transactions, channel-stuffing, and other financial and accounting misconduct.”  Plaintiff reported his purported concerns to senior executives,…
On February 22, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment against Plaintiff who claimed that his employment was terminated in violation of the SOX whistleblower protection provision.  The court concluded that genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether Plaintiff actually believed that the complained-of conduct was unlawful and whether the complaints were a contributing factor in Plaintiff’s termination. Genberg v. Porter, No. 16-cv-1368. Background.  Plaintiff was…
On February 12, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi recently denied a motion for summary judgment in a SOX whistleblower claim where the defendant company alleged that it terminated the plaintiff pursuant to a reduction-in-force (RIF). Hendrick v. ITT Engineered Valves, LLC, No. 16-cv-204. Background. Plaintiff began working as Operational Excellence Manager at a company that was considering a RIF to respond to a decline business.  Recognizing that he…