Theft of trade secrets leads to business litigation

| May 18, 2020 | business litigation |

When North Carolina employees begin to feel dissatisfied with their employer, they may take matters into their own hands, sometimes using illegal means. For example, if a worker feels the boss is not paying a fair wage, he or she may feel justified in taking supplies or money from the business. In some cases, an employer’s trade secrets may be at riskwhen employees look for ways to even a score.

The owner of a roofing company in another state is dealing with such a situation. When two employees noticed that their base pays were declining, they approached the owner with their complaint. However, the owner allegedly responded by cutting and then eliminating their commissions. The two employees then reportedly began emailing electronic files of roofing contracts to their personal emails. The files included proprietary information, including pricing formulas, labor costs, profit margins and confidential customer information.

The employees claim they were sending the files as a paper trail of how much money in sales and commissions the owner owed them. However, investigators discovered that the two had apparently registered a new roofing company that listed themselves as the owners. Their employer argues that the information they had emailed to themselves would allow them to start a new business and underbid him on future projects, potentially costing him substantial sums of money.

The two employees are now facing criminal charges of embezzlement, but the owner of the roofing company has also filed a civil suit. The theft of trade secrets can be devastating to a business, and in cases like this, it may be a challenge for a business owner to pursue restitution. Having the representation of a North Carolina attorney with skills in business litigation is a wise move.