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What can we do if former employee might have taken info to competitor?

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Q. Recently, an employee left our company to join a competitor. When we took a look at his computer, we found deleted e-mails and files indicating he downloaded some valuable information about our customers. We suspect he transferred it to our competitor. He was an at-will employee and we had no employment agreement with him. Is there anything we can do about this?

A. Yes, there are a number of things. Depending upon the nature of the information (confidential, trade secret, etc.), you may be able to sue him and the competitor to prevent any use of the information—and to recover any profits that were made as a result of taking your assets.

Second, in New York there is a doctrine known as the “Faithless Servant” rule. It indicates that if an employee breaches his duty of loyalty, while employed, he forfeits any right to any compensation he was receiving during that period. Discuss this with your attorney.

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