Are contact details of prospects considered trade secrets?

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Are contact details of prospects considered trade secrets?

I work in the investment management industry in sales and recently I have been let go by my company because a shared a few contact details of prospects with my colleagues in the industry. They also have shared a few of their own as well. All done through email and my boos new all about it as that the way the industry works.

Asked on October 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) If you do not have an employment contract, you may be terminated at any time, for any reason, including releasing client, customer, or prospect information. If you do have a contract, you may only be terminated in accordance with its terms.

2) Yes, information regarding prospects is generally considered proprietary information of the company, so releasing or sharing it would typically be grounds for a "for cause" termination (so even if you had a contract which said you could only be fired "for cause," this would probably suffice); it would in many cases constitute grounds for the company to sue you, if they lose any business to the competitors with whom you shared this information.


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