How to Protect Trade Secrets
For any employer, the leak of closely-held trade secrets is a nightmarish prospect. Unfortunately, as new employees enter an organization, and other employees leave the organization, Orange County Employment Lawyer find serious risks that trade secrets will be leaked to others, including competitors.
What can you do as an employer, to ensure that employees who have access to trade secrets maintain secrecy, and how can you ensure this without infringing on employee rights?
A trade secret can be defined as any secret that is not widely known in the industry, and whose existence is of great benefit and value to your company. The economic benefit that the trade secret holds for your company depends very heavily on its secrecy, and lack of access to others. Orange County Employment Lawyers recommend certain steps that you can take to maintain the secrecy of information that qualifies as a trade secret.
For instance, before you hire a new employee, you can conduct a background screening check on the new employee before he joins employment.
Make sure that any trade secrets are labeled prominently as secret, by using terms like “confidential.” Make sure that access to trade secrets is restricted to certain qualified personnel only. Trade secrets cannot remain “secret” if everybody in the organization is privy to these.
Documents that contain secrets must only be accessed by specified, qualified and screened personal. Only those who need to know about the trade secrets or use them in the course of their work need to know about these documents.
Computers that contain sensitive information must have limited access, and must be safeguarded using high-tech security systems and passwords. Use a full-fledged IT team to ensure that your trade secret information is protected.
Restrict the amount of photocopying that your employees do in your office by maintaining logs for photocopying. In-house shredding machines can also help reduce the risk of trade secrets getting into the wrong hands.
Ensure that when employees leave your employment, they know that any trade secrets that they are aware of must continue to remain privileged and confidential.