October 31, 2011

Update: Court Approves Settlement Creating Ombuds Program for Pfizer

The federal court has approved the settlement of a shareholder lawsuit against Pfizer, Inc., and its subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, Inc., that will require the company to create an Ombuds program for employees.

The court's order states:
Separately, the proposed settlement requires Pfizer to create an Ombudsman program so as to provide the company's [*340] employees with an alternative, confidential means for bringing work-related concerns to the attention of senior management without fear of reprisal. See Corporate Governance Proposal at 6. The Ombudsman will operate a stand-alone office under the direction of Pfizer's Chief Compliance Officer, and is authorized to report his or her concerns directly to the Regulatory Committee. Id. All conversations with the Ombudsman will remain confidential, except where the employee raises an issue that risks harm to an individual or the company or where disclosure is required by law. Id.
The order also said, "Both plaintiffs' and defendants' experts also point to the Ombudsman program ... [**15] as likely to materially enhance the Company's ability to meet its compliance obligations." (The case cite is In re Pfizer Inc. S'holder Derivative Litig., 780 F. Supp. 2d 336, 341 (S.D.N.Y. 2011).)

1 comment:

  1. I realize this order is the result of a settlement but, in any way, do such orders help us to protect ombuds confidentiality or, at least, to argue for it?