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New Trade Secrets Law Now Includes Whistleblower Protections

On May 11, President Obama signed the brand-new Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA). This new legislation establishes a federal trade secrets law and has the added benefit of protecting corporate whistleblowers.

With this law, whistleblowers who disclose trade secrets to federal, state or local government officials or to an attorney for the sole purpose of investigating potential legal violations will be protected from any backlash. Such disclosures are also protected if whistleblowers make them during the course of a lawsuit or other proceeding, as long as the disclosure is made privately.

For example, a whistleblower who files an anti-retaliation lawsuit against a current or former employer could disclose company trade secrets to his or her attorney. That trade secret information may be used during court proceedings, as long as that secret is kept under seal.

Under the DTSA, employers are also required to notify their employees of these rights to disclose and use trade secrets in these circumstances.

Additionally, the law will make trade secret laws regarding trade secrets uniform with a single federal statute, which will make laws easier to develop and predict nationwide. Any existing laws, however, will not be preempted by the implementation of the DTSA — it simply adds a layer of federal law.

Thanks to the various federal whistleblower protection programs and other laws that have been established over the past several years, there are now more protections in place for whistleblowers than ever before. It has also become more important for businesses and organizations to develop processes to respond to whistleblower complaints swiftly and effectively.

For further guidance on this important issue, contact the experienced Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers.

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In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

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