Top Trends in Government Litigation, Enforcement Actions

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on June 09, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Federal agencies, that fourth branch of government, have been increasing regulation and enforcement actions in the past years, expanding readings of federal employment laws, targeting individual corporate officers, and even inching closer and closer to institutions once considered "too big to jail." And as government enforcement becomes increasingly robust, many old lessons are starting to change.

To help you stay on top of it all, here are our top pieces on recent government litigation and enforcement trends, from the FindLaw archives.

1. The Yates Memo's Unintended Consequences

The Yates Memo marks a major change in the Department of Justice's approach to corporate wrongdoing, switching the focus decidedly towards individual culpability. That means more of a focus on individual officers, less of a rush to settlement, and fewer releases of individual liability. But the memo could have unintended consequences, experts warn, leading to less cooperation from corporations facing DOJ investigations.

2. For the First Time, EEOC Sues Over Anti-Gay Bias

The Civil Rights Act has long been the primary bulwark against discriminatory employment practices. But the act's reach has begun to change in recent years, particularly with regards to sex discrimination. The government has now embraced the once-rejected idea that sex discrimination includes discrimination against transgender individuals and, for the first time ever, has extended that protection to gays and lesbians as well.

3. Bathroom Bias Battle Heats Up as North Carolina Sues DOJ

That broader reading of sex discrimination is getting one of its first major challenges in the DOJ's clash with North Carolina. After that state adopted a law forcing individuals to use the bathroom of their birth gender, rather than the gender they currently identify with and live as, the Justice Department brought suit, saying that the state had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as the Violence Against Women Act.

4. Today's Lesson: It Pays to Be a Low-Down Sni-- Whistleblower

Of course, enforcement agencies can't do it all on their own, which is why they often rely on the help of whistleblowing employees. And to help encourage employees to come forward, the Security and Exchange Commission first established a whistleblower rewards program in 2011, offering cash for information. Since then, it's paid out $68,000,000.

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