Is Your Handbook Updated?
The new Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) went into effect earlier this month and some companies are confused as to how to become compliant with the new law. First, let’s look at what this law means.
This act protects whistleblowers or people who notify authorities of illegal activity within a company. If a person witnesses or becomes aware of another employee selling or revealing company secrets, that person is protected by law if they alert someone. A trade secret is anything from a client list to a marketing strategy and everything in between.
To be compliant, there are a few small steps your company needs to take. First, update your handbook to include verbiage about the act. The employee has a right to know this information. The second step is to have current employees sign that they understand the rights, protections and repercussions of revealing trade secrets. These should then be placed the employee’s file for future reference. As of May 11 of this year, not having this paperwork filed could prevent the employer from collecting damages if a lawsuit is pursued.
The last step would be implementing that receipt of acknowledgement for DTSA in your on-boarding kit for new hires. It is also good practice to review with the new hire what trade secrets are and explain the consequences of revealing them.