Departing Employees & Trade Secrets: How to Minimize Your Risk
As a business owner, you’ve worked so hard to build your business. You have created products, service, and processes using strategies that drive your business. What would happen if one of your best employees, who helps you run these strategies, tells you that they are leaving? How do you keep your company secrets your company secrets?
Hopefully, you had already established a confidentiality clause with your employee when you first hired them. A confidentiality clause (or agreement) requires that the person keeps certain information strictly confidential. Preferably, it sets forth the form of information you consider “trade secret”. You may later use this to protect yourself against competition or disclosure of your company’s secrets.
Say your employee were to try and start a business that would compete with your own, how would you deal with them? If you set up a noncompetition clause early on, you will have already taken the high ground. You can even create a lawsuit on a non-compete clause. You can typically do this in a geographic area for a limited time.
In order to strengthen your position, before the employee leaves, do the following:
– Determine whether or not you want to keep the employee. If so, why does he/she want to leave?
– Review any applicable agreements that you and the employee had set up.
– Determine where the employee is going. Have they accepted employment with a competitor, put the competitor on notice of your areas of intent? What are they doing with your trade secrets?
If taking these steps don’t help, you may need legal assistance. A Creative Business Lawyer is capable of solving these problems before and after the mess is made. However, we suggest preventing the mess from step one.
While being a successful business owner, you don’t want to get caught up in all of this legamumbo-jumbo stuff! Lucky for you, we have created something called the Access Plan, which helps business owners protect their legacy. We can schedule a free Shatterproof Session to get you jump started!