When is it okay for an employee to steal trade secrets? According to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the answer is when an employee is trying to preserve evidence of discrimination.
In Joyce Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the New Jersey Supreme Court addressed the question of whether an employee may take confidential documents from his or her employer for the purpose of helping in the prosecution of a discrimination claim. The Court emphasized that it had to strike a careful balance between an employer’s right to conduct its business while safeguarding its confidential information and an employee’s right to be free from discrimination and retaliation for speaking up about perceived discrimination. The Court observed that neither right is absolute, and achieving the appropriate balance requires an intensive analysis.
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