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Use Exit Interviews to Help Protect Trade Secrets

One way an employer may protect itself against trade secret theft by departing employees is to incorporate the subject into all exit interviews.

June 08, 2015


(press release: cdklawyers) // Dallas, Texas, United States // Keith Clouse

Many employers ask their top executives and those employees who regularly handle sensitive company information to sign nondisclosure and noncompetition agreements designed to protect the companies’ trade secrets. But, trade secret law applies to all employees, not just to those at the top; no employee may steal and use a company’s trade secrets.

One way an employer may protect itself against trade secret theft by departing employees is to incorporate the subject into all exit interviews. As part of the exit interview process, an employer should:

  • Confirm that the employee has returned all company equipment and property.
  • Provide the employee with copies of any agreements or policies regarding confidential information, noncompetition, nonsolicitation, nondisclosure, and trade secrets.
  • Remind the employee of his obligation not to use or disclose any trade secrets.

The employer should record this information on a checklist so that the employer has proof that these subjects were discussed and that key documents were provided to the departing employee. The departing employee should sign this form at the meeting’s end.

This article is presented by the Dallas employment attorneys at Clouse Dunn LLP. To speak to an employment law attorney, send an email to debra@clousedunn.com or call (214) 239-2705.