by DavidRocke on 22/08/12 at 4:06 pm
In this day and age, both employees and employers have a great deal of information and technological resources at their disposal. Information has also gotten more and more valuable, and though as an employer there’s no reason to get overly concerned out about protecting everything at your disposal, (you should make first that you try to hire trustworthy employees) you should be taking adequate steps not to make it easy for employees to steal from you, and not make it too inviting.
There are several reasons an employee might consider stealing information from an employer, including for revenge or out of spite, in order to make a profit, because they feel entitled to use the information, or because it’s simply available to them and potentially beneficial. Besides being in danger of losing profit or gaining unfair competition due to loss of data, employees also might be in danger of losing a court case against former employees who have stolen from them — if it appears that the employer failed to take adequate steps to secure information and company property.
What Employers Can Do
Fortunately, there are some very easy steps and precautions that employers can take in order to protect their information and encourage good behavior from their employees. First of all, in order to avoid any kind of behavior driven by malevolence or a desire for revenge, it’s important for employees to try to keep on the good side of their employers and avoid bad feelings, especially when considering firing an employee. Try not to humiliate an employee that you’re considering firing, and don’t retaliate against employees who might want ask for benefits that are lawfully theirs, such as worker’s compensation. Most states have laws specifically designed to discourage such retaliation, and, perhaps even more importantly, taking such action could turn a benign employee into a nasty adversary.
If you have a valuable employee that has access to valuable information, or if your company simply deals with a lot of sensitive information, you might consider asking that one employee, or many of your employees, to sign contracts that stipulate clearly that they are not allowed to share, and do not have rights to, company information. Taking this kind of step may appear unnecessary, but can be important proof of action and precautions in court.
The next thing is to make sure that employees don’t have unnecessary access to information. Although it may seem difficult or tedious to set up, making sure that there is a security or document protection program in place that only allows certain employees to access to certain documents, could save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run. Just like with contracts, having a system of document protection and restricted access in place will weaken court cases that employees may bring against you, or strengthen you case against employees who might have stolen from you.
Many people are opportunists and also might not consider taking information as stealing. Communicating with your employees is the most important part of a healthy employee-employer relationship — it will be much harder for an employee to justify an act that they’ve previously agreed to not take part in. Don’t wait till an employee has taken valuable information and cost you money to implement steps to protect yourself – take preventative action.
About The Author: As a writer and computer enthusiast, David Rocke was helping his friends program their computers and protect their documents for years before he became the resident blogger for Vanguard Archives of Chicago.