Can Employees Steal Trade Secrets & Confidential Information To Support Their Whistleblower Claims?

The answer: It depends who is adjudicating the case, as a sharp conflict recently has arisen on this issue between federal and state courts and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) recently suggested that such activities may indeed qualify as protected activity under the whistleblower protection provisions in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The ARB acknowledged the acute tension between employer confidentiality policies and employee whistleblower bounty programs, like those in the Dodd-Frank Act, which preclude enforcement of confidentiality agreements. Although the New Jersey Supreme Court took a similar approach, numerous federal courts have renounced such resorts to "self-help" and bypassing of civil discovery rules. What does this mean for companies seeking to protect their trade secrets and confidential information? How should management and board members respond in the face of these decisions and their seemingly competing obligations to protect assets such as trade secrets and confidential information — which often are a company’s most valuable assets?

This webinar will discuss the following topics:

  • Recent decisions addressing the interplay between maintaining employer confidentiality and protection of trade secrets and protected activity under whistleblower statutes and “self-help” discovery;
  • The provisions in whistleblower bounty programs that preclude enforcement of confidentiality agreements;
  • The duty to safeguard trade secrets and confidential information under various statutes;
  • Appropriate procedures and strategies for protecting company secrets; and
  • Tips to address anonymous whistleblowers in the Internet and social media age.

The webinar will be hosted by attorneys Steve Pearlman and Robert Milligan, on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, from 10:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m. Pacific.

There is no cost for attending this webinar, however, registration is required.  You can register here. CLE credit is available in California, Illinios, and New York.