Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses around the world had been bracing for the financial and operational impact of the new California Consumers Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which took effect January 1, 2020. Despite existing and ongoing uncertainty around how to comply and interpret the law, the courts had already began seeing private class actions brought under the CCPA (or using the CCPA as a placeholder with Business and Professions Code Section 17200 and tort claims) filed in February—each presenting interesting and far-reaching legal questions about the new law.
Continue Reading The Impact of COVID-19 on the California Consumer Privacy Act

Seyfarth attorneys Robert Milligan, John Tomaszewski, and Darren Dummit are presenting “The California Consumer Privacy Act – What It Is and What Clients Need to Know, Particularly in Light of COVID-19,” a webinar for ITechLaw on April 7, 2020, at 9 a.m. Central.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect on January 1,

As we have previously reported, courts across the country are adjourning most appearances, including trials, and hearing only “emergency matters” during the current COVID-19 crisis. As a result, obtaining emergency injunctive relief may be more difficult than in normal circumstances. And attempting to obtain injunctive relief to enforce non-compete agreements against employees who are laid off, while permissible in a majority of states, may be particularly difficult now given that we are quickly entering (if not already in) a period of high unemployment. At the same time, some employers are loosening security measures in the name of convenience and efficiency for remote workers, potentially making trade secret misappropriation easier (we have provided tips for avoiding just that). But that does not mean employers are out of luck if an employee (or someone else) misappropriates its trade secrets or steals its customers. Companies that are genuinely and immediately harmed by trade secret misappropriation and breach of restrictive covenants should still seriously consider seeking injunctive relief, particularly if the activity is causing significant harm to their business. Damages are always an available, if not immediate, remedy, however, where injunctive relief may not be practical.
Continue Reading Emergency Injunction Not in the Cards? Damages May Be Your Winning Hand

According to a March 26, 2020, News Release issued by the Department of Labor (“DOL”), initial unemployment claims in the United States soared to a seasonally adjusted 3.3 million the week ending March 21, 2020, the greatest single week increase in recorded history, primarily because of layoffs resulting from COVID-19. Indeed, the DOL reports that:

During the week ending March 21, the increase in initial claims are due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus impacts. States continued to cite services industries broadly, particularly accommodation and food services. Additional industries heavily cited for the increases included the health care and social assistance, arts, entertainment and recreation, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing industries.

Some researchers estimate that as many 1 in 5 US employees are subject to non-compete agreements. This means that, in all likelihood, hundreds of thousands of employees who are subject to non-compete agreements were terminated in the last week or so alone.
Continue Reading Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements During Times of High Unemployment

When the COVID-19 crisis hit the United States (indeed, before it was even considered a “crisis” here), we provided tips for protecting a company’s trade secrets in the event employees were permitted to work from home. In the ensuing three weeks, not only have employees been permitted to work from home, but many companies have required it. Indeed, an ever-growing list of states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have issued stay-at-home orders and shut down all non-essential businesses for the time being. As a result, there are now millions of employees working remotely who are accustomed to working in an office setting. Indeed, according to a March 12, 2020, flash survey of more than 550 employers conducted by Seyfarth, nearly 85% of responding companies were actively encouraging employees to work from home in some or all parts of the country, and more than 65% were taking steps to provide capability for employees to be able to work from home who do not normally do so. Those numbers are likely even higher now.
Continue Reading Protecting Trade Secrets During a Pandemic: Think Twice Before Loosening Security Measures in the Name of Convenience and Efficiency

On Friday, March 27 at 12 p.m. Central, Seyfarth attorneys Michael Wexler, Jesse Coleman, and Justin Beyer will present Coronavirus & Remote Work Force: Best Practices for Protecting Trade Secrets and Intellectual Capital, the next webinar is Seyfarth’s Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic Webinar Series.

Enacting a remote work policy or expanding an existing

Fear of the coronavirus is causing many employers to permit—or in some cases mandate—employees to work remotely. While this measure is designed to minimize the risk of virus transmission, it presents an altogether different risk when it comes to protecting trade secrets, as employees have ripe opportunities to remove trade secrets and other sensitive information from company systems and databases. While remote access is ostensibly provided so that employees can perform their job functions from home, and may even be a necessity in that regard, some employees may take the opportunity to exploit the situation to more nefarious ends, and others may just be careless, which can lead to equally bad outcomes. In addition, employees’ external home networks may not have robust security on par with in-office network security.
Continue Reading Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Protecting Trade Secrets During a Pandemic