In the third installment of our 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Justin Beyer and Ian Long discussed employee mobility and its impact on trade secrets and non-compete agreements, and shared practical steps that companies can take to protect intellectual capital in today’s market.
As a follow up to this webinar, our team wanted to highlight:
• Protecting trade secrets when dealing with a more remote workforce requires employers to develop policies and practices throughout the lifecycle of onboarding, employment, and off-boarding. It is not enough to simply assume that the new hire will know and abide by his or her obligations, and requires a proactive approach, which may require the company to consider its hiring paperwork (are your current contracts sufficient to protect your interests?), its training procedures, and its off-boarding policies.
• Employers should consider developing policies that include: (a) asking questions during the onboarding process to best understand what obligations and role the candidate played in their prior employment and whether employing them will place your organization at risk; (b) developing regular training for employees to understand what the company considers its confidential information and what should be done to protect that information, as well as providing guidance to managers on understanding how to monitor their employees to ensure they are protecting the company’s confidential information; and (c) developing off-boarding policies to remind outgoing employees of their obligations and ensuring that information is being returned in an orderly fashion.
• Because of the ever evolving law on this area, especially as it relates to a host of new state statutes that have been passed over the past several years relating to the enforceability of post-employment restrictive covenants, it is important for your company to frequently assess the employment contracts it is utilizing, especially if members of its remote workforce live and work in some of the states that are passing new legislation.