Blowing the whistle on Trade Secrets
What’s your motivation ?
It’s no secret that Trade Secrets need to be kept... well... secret. It is also important that Whistle blowers are protected. The European Union (Protection of Trade Secrets) Regulations 2018 ,which came into effect in June 2018, implements the European Union (Protection of Trade Secrets) Regulations 2018 . It attempts to reconcile the difficulty in protecting both issues. On balance it favours the protection of Trade Secrets over the protection of the whistle blower.
A disclosure which involves information relating to a trade secret only becomes a protected disclosure if the employee can show that the purpose of the disclosure was the protection of the general public interest
A high standard indeed
The protection of the general public interest is a high standard, which may not be met by many employees. The main reason is that an employee may be motivated by other considerations, such as conflict with the employer or a co-worker. The public interest may be way down the list of considerations.
If you cannot prove that the disclosure of a trade secret is a protected disclosure because you were motivated by the public interest, then you could be facing up to three years in prison and a fine of up to €50,000, if you are found guilty of a breach of the Regulations, as well as Civil remedies such as damages and injunctive relief. Any employee who wishes to make a disclosure which involves revealing a trade secret must consider the huge financial burden which they could face if it is not treated as a protected disclosure.
For more on Protected Disclosures see
What should I do if I wish to make a protected disclosure ?
You should seek professional help in deciding whether or not you are covered by the Protected Disclosures legislation. It could save you a lot of trouble and expense, later on. You can contact us using the button opposite, if you wish to find out more on making a protected disclosure.
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