What social media pitfalls should companies consider when protecting trade secret information?
Minneapolis trade secret protection attorney, Teresa Thompson, discusses how social media has impacted trade secret security for large and small companies.
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Well, as you know, employers have been dealing with employees disclosing information about the company online since social media evolved. There have been employees venting about all sorts of things. Their supervisors, their coworkers, their working conditions. And there’s really little that employers can do because of protections under laws like the National Labor Relations Act. We’re not gonna talk about that right now. What we want to know is what can you do if there’s protected information that is disclosed online? And in that instance, you really do need to take action. You need to be able to demand that the employee remove that information. You need to be able to get that information back in the event that somebody else has taken it. And that presents a lot of problems.
How do you avoid that from happening to begin with? Create a social media policy. Have a good one in place and then provide some training to your employees. What this does is it gives you the ability to give employees an understanding of what can happen when information is disclosed online because most of the time it’s inadvertent. They don’t do it on purpose. They’re venting. But they can often disclose confidential information, maybe some insider information that they really shouldn’t be disclosing and could get the employee and the company in trouble.
I remember a CFO who was fired for providing financial inside information in tweets and on Facebook. And you’d think somebody at that level would know better, but they don’t. So training is really key here. And you can prevent most of that information from being disclosed online by simply educating your employees.