Employment Law Alert

Employment Law Alert

News and Updates on Employment Law

Tag Archives: Confidentiality

Governor Christie Signs Legislation Protecting Social Networking Accounts of Employees

Posted in Policies/Handbooks, Privacy
On August 29, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that prohibits most employers from requiring employees or prospective employees to disclose user names and passwords for social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The new law, which goes into effect December 1, 2013, makes New Jersey the 13th state to enact legislation protecting the social networking accounts of employees. The Gibbons Employment Law Alert previously covered the proposed bill before it became law… Continue Reading

New Jersey Court Finds Violation of Computer Related Offenses Act and Other Unlawful Conduct, Ordering Disgorgement of Profits, Attorneys’ Fees and Punitive Damages

Posted in Reductions in Force (RIF)
In B&H Securities, Inc. v. Duane Pinkey et al., the New Jersey Superior Court found that former employees taking computer files from - and using the files to unfairly compete with - their employer violated the Computer Related Offenses Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:38A-1 et seq. ("CROA"), and breached other common law and contractual obligations. The Court awarded actual damages, based on plaintiff B&H's lost profits of $737,087.00, as well as punitive damages of $100,000 and attorneys' fees under the … Continue Reading

Federal Government Taking More Steps to Protect Trade Secrets

Posted in Employment Agreements, Policies/Handbooks, Privacy, Restrictive Covenants
The federal government continues to take aim at those who violate trade secrets rights. On December 28, 2012, the Theft of Trade Secrets Clarification Act of 2012 (S. 3642) became law, expanding the definition of trade secrets under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA). In addition, as previously reported in a Gibbons IP Law Alert blog, the President is expected to sign legislation recently passed by Congress that triples the damages for a violation of trade secrets protection laws and provides technical changes to patent applications and protections. Also worthy of note is an 82-page report from the U.S. Department of Justice issued last month detailing federal enforcement efforts concerning trade secrets theft… Continue Reading

New Jersey District Court Enjoins Former Financial Services Employee from Taking Customer Information

Posted in Restrictive Covenants
In a case to be noted by financial services entities that are signatories to the "Protocol for Broker Recruiting," a New Jersey District Court issued a preliminary injunction to a financial services employer, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. ("plaintiff") to prevent a former financial advisor employee from retaining certain client information that he downloaded from his computer prior to his departure from plaintiff. Plaintiff was a party to the "Protocol for Broker Recruiting" that prescribes a method for a departing employee to retain certain client information when leaving for another financial services institution. To grant the injunction, the Court found that plaintiff showed it likely would succeed on its underlying breach of contract claim, it would suffer immediate irreparable harm absent the injunction, defendant would not suffer harm if enjoined, and the injunction favors the public's interest. The Court essentially decided that if the Protocol is not followed in the first instance, a departing financial representative's subsequent compliance is tainted and insufficient to withstand subsequent legal challenge… Continue Reading

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Continues to be “Employer Friendly”

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA") is a federal law that, in part, makes it a crime to access a computer in an unauthorized manner. In the employment context, the statute has proven valuable in protecting confidential and proprietary information that employees can access on their employers' electronic systems. Recent decisions by the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Third Circuits emphasize the breadth of the CFAA's application to the workplace… Continue Reading

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds That Employees Disciplined for Stealing Confidential Company Documents in Support of Discrimination Claims Can Sue for Unlawful Retaliation

Posted in Whistleblower
The New Jersey Supreme Court has just announced a new test under which an employer may be held liable for unlawful retaliation when taking action against an employee who misappropriates and uses confidential company documents against the employer in support of a discrimination claim. Those who believe that simplicity is a virtue will not have their minds changed by the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision in Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corporation, in which the Court, by a 5-2 majority, established a complex and confusing seven-part "balancing test" for determining whether an employee's wrongful taking of company documents nevertheless constitutes "protected activity" under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (the "LAD"). Applying this test, the Court held that the plaintiff in Quinlan could have been terminated for the wrongful taking of documents, but should not have been terminated for her attorney's use of one of the documents at a deposition… Continue Reading

Employee Personal Use of Company-Owned Electronic Devices in the Wake of Stengart and Quon

Posted in E-Discovery, Policies/Handbooks, Privacy
In this technology age, employees increasingly make personal use of workplace electronic communications applications. The legal ramifications of such personal use - and how employers can create policies that balance the right to monitor the workplace with employees' expectations of privacy - were examined in an informative panel discussion, "Electronic Communications Policies in the Wake of Stengart and Quon" during Gibbons P.C.'s Fourth Annual E-Discovery Conference on October 28, … Continue Reading
Lexblog