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How to Protect Your Business’ Trade Secrets in Employee Relations

Trade secrets and confidential information can be the backbones of businesses, and protecting this information can be pivotal to a company’s success and future. Among the various parties that interact with businesses – and that can have access to trade secrets and confidential business information – are a company’s employees.

Below, we’ll discuss how businesses can protect their trade secrets and other confidential information when it comes to employees, specifically focusing on some procedures that should be followed for new and departing employees.

Protecting Trade Secrets with New Employees

confidential sheet

When a business hires new employees, in addition to having the new employees sign a standard employment contract (and possibly a specific non-disclosure agreement), a human resources professional should meet with the new employees and do the following to ensure the company’s trade secrets are protected:

  • Explain in detail the business’ policy regarding trade secrets
  • Provide the employees with a copy of the company’s trade secrets policy
  • Ask the employees whether they have signed confidentiality agreements with former employers and whether the employees may have retained any information/documents from those former employers
  • Specifically instruct employees not to disclose any trade secrets or confidential information they may have been exposed to at former jobs
  • Ask the employees if they understand this information
  • Have the employees sign a document stating that they have been informed of and understand the above points.

For Employees Who Are Leaving the Company…

Within five days of an employee leaving the company, a human resources professional should do the following to protect a company’s trade secrets and confidential information:

  • Explain that the agreements (like a non-disclosure agreement, for instance) are still binding upon the employee even after that person stops working for the company and gets another job
  • Ask the employee if (s)he will be keeping any company documents after leaving his or her job and, if so, what in particular will be retained
  • Explain to the employee that the company will sue if (s)he discloses any of the business’ trade secrets or confidential information in the future
  • Ask the employee if (s)he understands this information (and possibly have him or her sign a document stating that this information has been explained to him or her and that (s)he understands it).

Contact an Experienced Denver Business Lawyer at Downey & Associates, PC

If you need help protecting your business’ trade secrets or taking action against any party that has illegally shared these secrets (or other confidential information), contact Denver Business Lawyer Thomas E. Downey. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and the other legal professionals at Downey & Associates, PC, have been providing individuals and businesses in the Denver Metro Area and throughout the U.S. with the highest level of legal service for their litigation, property tax and business legal issues.

To learn more about your rights and options, as well as our various services, contact us by calling (303) 813-1111 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page. From our law offices in Centennial, we serve clients throughout Colorado and the U.S.

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