Seyfarth Events

The New Risk: Employee Theft Of Trade Secrets And Confidential Information In The Name Of Protected Whistleblowing

2012 Trade Secrets Webinar Series



12:00 p.m. Central

Can Employees Steal Trade Secrets & Confidential Information To Support Their Whistleblower Claims?
The answer: It depends who is adjudicating the case, as a sharp conflict recently has arisen on this issue between federal and state courts and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  The DOL's Administrative Review Board (ARB) recently suggested that such activities may indeed qualify as protected activity under the whistleblower protection provisions in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  The ARB acknowledged the acute tension between employer confidentiality policies and employee whistleblower bounty programs, like those in the Dodd-Frank Act, which preclude enforcement of confidentiality agreements.  Although the New Jersey Supreme Court took a similar approach, numerous federal courts have renounced such resorts to "self-help" and bypassing of civil discovery rules.  What does this mean for companies seeking to protect their trade secrets and confidential information?  How should management and board members respond in the face of these decisions and their seemingly competing obligations to protect assets such as trade secrets and confidential information -- which often are a company's most valuable assets?

This webinar will discuss the following topics:

  • Recent decisions addressing the interplay between maintaining employer confidentiality and protection of trade secrets and protected activity under whistleblower statutes and “self-help” discovery;
  • The provisions in whistleblower bounty programs that preclude enforcement of confidentiality agreements;
  • The duty to safeguard trade secrets and confidential information under various statutes;
  • Appropriate procedures and strategies for protecting company secrets; and
  • Tips to address anonymous whistleblowers in the Internet and social media age.

CLE credit will be available to participants.*

If you have any questions, please contact

Seyfarth has applied for CLE credit in IL, NY, and CA.  If you would like us to pursue CLE credit in any additional states, please email Please note that in order to receive full credit for attending this webinar, the registrant must be present for the entire session. This program is appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys.