What happens if you inadvertently share a trade secret? Come clean immediately, legal experts say. Covering up "is an extremely risky way to deal with the problem," employment lawyer Albert Solecki tells The New York Times. "It's the difference between losing one job and ruining your whole career."
Different laws, at the state and federal level, apply to different kinds of secrets—intellectual property versus competitive financial information. Solecki says that misdirected e-mail messages are the cause of much inadvertent disclosure; another risk area is social interaction with family and friends, even if they don't work in your industry.
Reporting your mistake toallows the opportunity for effective damage control. If your enterprise deals in potentially valuable secrets, and you don't have a policy (in the employee handbook) for dealing with disclosure, get one—fast.