Employers victimized by trade secret misappropriation appropriately express righteous outrage, both at the offending ex-employee and sometimes at the new employer. However, on another day the roles can reverse: That same employer may unwittingly — or worse, intentionally — have hired someone who has stolen trade secrets or confidential information. Failure to take appropriate precautions or implement sufficient remedial measures can expose the hiring employer to a variety of civil, and even potentially criminal, claims. Burying your head in the sand is not a winning strategy, especially given how easy technology has made it to copy and take confidential information.
The following tips can eliminate or minimize this risk and/or mitigate the consequences of having hired an individual who has misappropriated trade secrets. Prospective prevention steps include:
What if despite these preventative measures, you discover that a new hire, who is now on your payroll, has taken the confidential information of a prior employer? The following steps can help mitigate the consequences to your company in such a circumstance.
All of this can be tremendously complex, nuanced, and important. Therefore, carefully consider each action and involve a multidisciplinary team, including Management, Human Resources, Information Technology and, Legal.