Company Settles Charges in First-Of-Its-Kind Whistleblower Retaliation Case
Dec. 20, 2016
Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy Inc. has agreed to settle charges that it used illegal separation agreements and retaliated against a whistleblower who expressed concerns internally about how its reserves were being calculated.
The SEC’s order finds that SandRidge conducted multiple reviews of its separation agreements after a new whistleblower protection rule became effective in August 2011, yet continued to regularly use restrictive language that prohibited outgoing employees from participating in any government investigation or disclosing information potentially harmful or embarrassing to the company. In addition, SandRidge fired an internal whistleblower who kept raising concerns about the process used by SandRidge to calculate its publicly reported oil-and-gas reserves.
Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, SandRidge agreed to pay a penalty of $1.4 million, subject to the company’s bankruptcy plan.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Tamara F. McCreary, Timothy L. Evans, and David R. King and supervised by Jonathan P. Scott and David L. Peavler of the Fort Worth office.