Half of employees who left or lost their jobs keep confidential corporate data after they’ve left, according to a 2013 study. [i] This is not surprising since many employees, in performing their work duties, routinely have access to, and work with, their employer’s confidential or proprietary information. Smart phones, laptops, email and file hosting services like Dropbox or Box allow employees greater flexibly to work remotely or outside of normal office hours, which benefits employers, but also means that employees are likely to have this information in their possession when the employment ends. Most employers have policies requiring employees to return this information upon separation. Even so, when the employment relationship ends, there are several reasons why employees may take the data with them, such as inadvertence, neglect, or a misperception about industry custom.
What then should an attorney do when her client, who has been wrongfully discharged, has not returned the information belonging to her former employer? If the employment was recently terminated, then the employee is probably best advised to immediately return the information directly to her former employer. But otherwise, there is little legal guidance for how the client’s attorney should handle returning such information, and the employee’s retention of information belonging to her former employer can have devastating consequences for the client and her attorney. Although attorneys may differ about how to approach this issue, our firm has successfully used the following approach to avoid the numerous pitfalls that this issue may present…
Read more @ the Alameda County Bar Association site.
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