Q. What can I do to avoid unauthorized disclosure of sensitive company information when an employee departs?
A. Has the employee signed a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement? That would bar the employee from disclosing confidential information. If the employee violates the agreement, you would have a legal remedy. Remind the employee in writing when he or she leaves the company of the obligations under the confidentiality agreement.
If the employee has not signed that type of agreement, he or she still has a duty under the law not to use or disclose the employer’s “trade secrets,” but it is more difficult to enforce than a contractual obligation. To preserve the argument that sensitive company information constitutes a trade secret, ensure that you treat such information as confidential—not available to the public or easily replicated.