A Simple Exit Interview Can Protect Your Company’s Valuable Trade Secrets
Most successful business owners shudder at the thought of their hard-earned trade secrets falling into the hands of a competitor. That is why strict laws are in place protecting businesses from corporate espionage and theft. When businesses contact the legal experts at Stibbs & Co. for help in the wake of misappropriated trade secrets, however, it typically is not a business rival who took them. It is a former employee.
Once employers learn this fact, it becomes obvious: Who else would they trust with their trade secrets besides the people tasked with implementing them? One of the most effective steps any employer can take to protect trade secrets is a simple exit interview with a departing employee. This is an ideal opportunity to remind the employee to return any confidential information before departing, turn over his or her employee I.D. and any keys or keycards used to access the premises, and adhere to any continuing confidentiality obligations. In addition, employers should ask the departing employee to sign an acknowledgment form confirming the employee’s obligations.
In the event an employer learns of or suspects that an employee has used or disclosed its trade secrets, it will want to act quickly to protect its intellectual property. The longer a potential theft goes undetected and the longer it takes for an employer to take action, the more damage the employer is likely to face.
This is the reason why Stibbs & Co. advises employers and business owners to engage legal counsel as soon as any theft is suspected. Experienced legal counsel can assist employers in preserving forensic data that will be used as evidence. Any delays in engaging a business law firm and a computer forensic expert make it less likely that the business will be able to prevent the use of the stolen trade secrets.
Routine exit interviews are just one part of a multifaceted anti-theft strategy that Stibbs & Co. recommends to our clients. To learn everything you need to know in order to prevent trade-secret misappropriation, contacting our firm is a solid first step. Your confidential business information is too valuable—and, potentially, too damaging—to leave to chance.
Author: Haley Paul