Steven J. Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and Co-Head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group and the Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition Group.
Steven’s practice covers the full spectrum of employment law, with a particular focus on defending companies against claims of employment discrimination, retaliation and harassment; whistleblower retaliation; restrictive covenant violations; theft of trade secrets; and wage-and-hour violations. He has successfully tried cases in multiple jurisdictions, and defended one of the largest Illinois-only class actions in the history of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He also secured one of only a few ex parte seizures orders that have been issued under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and obtained a world-wide injunction in federal litigation against a high-level executive who jumped ship to a competitor.
Reporting to boards of directors, their audit committees, CEOs and in-house counsel, Steven conducts sensitive investigations and has testified in federal court. His investigations have involved complaints of sexual harassment involving C-suite officers; systemic violations of employment laws and company policies; and fraud, compliance failures and unethical conduct.
Steven was recognized as Lawyer of the Year for Chicago Labor & Employment Litigation in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Chambers describes Steven as an “outstanding lawyer” who is “very sharp and very responsive,” a “strong advocate,” and an "expert in his field." Steven was 1 of 12 individuals selected by Compliance Week as a "Top Mind." Earlier in his career, he was 1 of 5 U.S. lawyers selected by Law360 as a "Rising Star Under 40" in the area of employment law and 1 of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" selected by Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Steven is a Burton Award Winner (U.S. Library of Congress) for "Distinguished Legal Writing."
Steven has served on Law360’s Employment Editorial Advisory Board and is a Contributor to Forbes.com. He has appeared on Bloomberg News (television and radio) and Yahoo! Finance, and is regularly quoted in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has engaged Steven to serve as lead counsel on amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit courts of appeal. He was appointed to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois in employment litigation matters. He has presented with the Solicitor of the DOL, the Acting Chair of the EEOC, an EEOC Commissioner, Legal Counsel to the EEOC and heads of the SEC, CFTC and OSHA whistleblower programs. He is also a member of the Sedona Conference, focusing on trade secret matters.
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On February 5, 2018, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Defendant Khan Funds Management America, Inc.’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a whistleblower retaliation claim under Dodd-Frank on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Read the full post on Proskauer’s Whistleblower Defense blog.… Continue Reading
A jury verdict awarding more than $3 million to Plaintiff James Crowley (Plaintiff) on his whistleblower retaliation claim under the Illinois State Official and Employee Ethics Act (Ethics Act) (5 ILCS § 430/15-5, et seq.) Crowley v. Watson, No. 1-14-2847 (Mar. 2, 2016) was upheld by an Illinois Appellate court on March 2, 2016. To read our … Continue Reading
The introduction of the Whistleblower Augmented Reward and Non-Retaliation Act of 2016 aims to strengthen whistleblower protections under both SOX and Dodd-Frank, increase bounty awards available, and create whistleblower protections for a new category of employees. To read more, click here… Continue Reading
In 2015, we saw high-profile whistleblower litigation around the country under a variety of statutes (such as SOX and Dodd-Frank) that yielded decisions expanding the scope of protected activity and even limiting defenses to causation. We also saw significant activity from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower that caused employers to revisit … Continue Reading
On September 28, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) held that the recording of workplace conversations can be protected whistleblower activity under the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (“ERA”). Franchini v. Argonne National Laboratory, ARB Case No. 13-081 (Sep. 28, 2015).… Continue Reading
Today, the Second Circuit issued its highly anticipated decision in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy, ruling (in a 2-1 decision) that Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower protection provision applies to internal complaints (i.e., complaints that are made by employees within the company and not to the SEC). This creates a circuit split; it is directly at odds with the Fifth Circuit’s … Continue Reading
Earlier today, the SEC announced that it would pay an unidentified compliance officer a whistleblower bounty award of between $1.4 and $1.6 million. This is the second award that the SEC has made to a whistleblower with internal audit or compliance responsibilities. According to the SEC, the recipient of the bounty award “had a reasonable … Continue Reading
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently deferred to the SEC’s determination that a tipster who provided information to the Commission before July 21, 2010, the effective date of the Dodd-Frank Act, is not eligible to receive a whistleblower bounty payment. Stryker v. SEC, Case No. 13-4404-ag (2d Cir. Mar. 11, 2015).… Continue Reading
On March 2, 2015, the SEC announced an expected award of $475,000 to $575,000 to a former company officer “who reported original, high-quality information about a securities fraud that resulted in an SEC enforcement action with sanctions exceeding $1 million.” The officer reported information to the SEC more than 120 days after other responsible compliance personnel … Continue Reading
Guest Post from Proskauer’s Whistleblower Defense Blog. Written By Steven J. Pearlman, Lloyd Chinn, Harris Mufson and Noa Baddish on November 12, 2014 The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Verfuerth v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-cv-352 (E.D. Wis. Nov. 4, 2014) recently ruled that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protection provision … Continue Reading
Guest Post from Proskauer’s Whistleblower Defense Blog Written By Steven J. Pearlman and Rachel Fischer on November 5, 2014 According to an academic study published on October 6, 2014 by Andrew C. Hall, Gerald S. Martin, Nathan Y. Sharp, and Jaron H. Wilde, the presence of whistleblowers may have a meaningful impact on the outcomes of … Continue Reading