Employers have the right to protect their trade secrets. Companies often invest large sums of money developing processes and technologies that help offer unique services or products to customers. For this reason, trade secrets can give a company an edge over the competition.
On a previous blog post, we wrote about the importance of nondisclosure agreements that are designed to strongly discourage employees from revealing a company’s secrets to other parties. But what further steps can a company take to make sure that important information is not being leaked by an employee?
The Internet is one area of concern regarding the potential transfer of secret information. To this end, it is considered within an employer’s rights to monitor the Web surfing activityty of their employees. Courts also generally consider it permissible for employers to view employee emails sent over company networks, so long as the viewing was in some way justifiable.
While it is sometimes possible to monitor phone calls and voice mail messages, it should be done with careful discretion. Employees do have rights when it comes to maintaining personal privacy.
The purpose of such monitoring should be to protect a company’s interests, not to invade an employee’s privacy. As such, employees should be made well aware of the company’s monitoring policies. Employers are also best served by establishing policies that are reasonable and justifiable.
But ultimately, businesses must hope that their employees have the integrity to never leak or sell a trade secret to an outside entity. Unfortunately, trade secrets sometimes do get stolen.
If you believe that someone who works or has worked for your company has illicitly revealed your trade secrets, you may wish to take legal action. A Florida business torts attorney may be able to represent your interests in holding those responsible accountable in seeking reparations for any economic loss you suffered owing to the theft.