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A.J.
A.J., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4300
Experience:  Licensed to practice law, I have experience in Employment, Appeals, and Landlord/Tenant Law
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In May 2009, I was the Marketing Manager for a New York based

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In May 2009, I was the Marketing Manager for a New York based software company.
We had just hired a sales rep who came with extensive experience in the industry.
This sales rep began scheduling meetings and conference calls with numerous clients and C-level Execs for numerous Fortune 500 companies. Myself and two other co-workers became suspicious of this sales rep and his "meetings" with all these potential clients because we never actually met or spoke to the clients.
We approached our Managing Director at the time and informed him of our suspicions of this individual, so he decided to investigate further. Our suspicions were in fact correct, the sales rep was "faking" meetings with clients and execs for all these companies so he could inflate his numbers. My Managing Director called me up and told me not to tell others in the office of the truth about the sales rep. However I couldn't keep it a secret - so I told a couple of my coworkers about the situation.

My Managing Director fired me and threatened to sue me for breaking his trust. Now my question is can I be sued for trade secret misappropriation or economic espionage or something like that for revealing this secret to my coworkers ? Even over 4 years later, is there a Statute of Limitation period? I see in the news of individuals actually being jailed for revealing company secrets and now I am worried.

SavyLawyer :

Hello, and thank you for the opportunity to answer your question. My name isXXXXX am an employment law professional, and I look forward to answering your question this evening. Give me just a moment to review the details of your question.

SavyLawyer :

I'm not sure which cases in particular you are referring to when you say that people have been jailed for revealing company secrets, but unless you signed something saying that you would not discuss anything about the company with anyone, including other employees of the company, then I do not see where the potential liability is.

SavyLawyer :

Generally where an employee can get in to trouble is if they steal or reveal some type of trade secret. Generally this is not information about internal hr issues, but things like revealing the secret recipe for coke, or the like.

SavyLawyer :

Trying to prove that you owed a duty of trust, or that revealing the information to other employees internally caused damage, would be incredibly difficult, it sounds like an angry person making threats they cannot back up.

Customer:

so what the sales rep did - this does not represent a trade secret ?

SavyLawyer :

Plus, defamation should not be an issue because, to the best of your knowledge the information that you shared was true.

Customer:

yes the information was completely true, my manager repeated to me the conversation he had with this person

Customer:

i subsequently then repeated this information to my coworkers

SavyLawyer :

No, a "trade secret" generally refers to something more technical.

Customer:

My belief is that you can't sue somebody for telling the truth

SavyLawyer :

There is a good article online as to what constitutes a trade secret in New York at:

SavyLawyer :

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/new-york-trade-secret-law.html

SavyLawyer :

That is generally true. As I said if there was some way that this person could demonstrate either that you entered in to a contract not to reveal this information, or that you had a duty not to disclose the information (which is unlikely), then maybe there could be a civil suit (ie not criminal).

SavyLawyer :

Based on the information provided, I just do not see where the liability would be. Now, it would certainly be wise, seeing as you are very concerned about this issue, to sit down in person with an attorney and, in confidence, review all of the details of the situation. Presumably, they will tell you the same thing, but it may help you feel better to speak with an attorney licensed in New York in person.

SavyLawyer :

Should you need a referral to an attorney, the New York State Bar Association has a referral service at:

SavyLawyer :

http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Need_To_Hire_A_Lawyer_

SavyLawyer :

I hope this chat has been helpful, and let me know if you need any additional information, I am happy to keep chatting. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

Customer:

thank you! this was 4 years ago, so isn't this past the limit also ?

Customer:

for any type of suit ?

SavyLawyer :

Not necessarily. Contract breach, for example, has a 6 year statute of limitations. Fraud, I believe, also has a 6 year statute of limitation. Those are some of the longer statutes of limitation in New York, most are only a few years long. In any event, based on the information provided the limitations period is less important than the fact that there is no type of liability that we can easily pin to what you are concerned about. Again, absolutely sit down with an attorney licensed in New York in person to confirm this.

Customer:

thank you so much for the information, I will rate you the highest.

SavyLawyer :

You are most welcome, it has been a pleasure chatting with you, and I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. If you do not have any further questions, please do remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work. Take care

Customer:

take care.

SavyLawyer :

Take care

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