Obtaining trade secrets and confidential information from a company and then sharing information can get employees in some hot water. Not only can an employee face consequences, but so can the company who accepted the stolen information.

Recently, two professional wrestling companies faced off in court regarding an alleged violation of the state's Uniform Trade Secrets Act. TNA Wrestling has accused World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. of improperly using confidential information that an employee unlawfully stole then distributed.

The situation started when a man was fired from TNA Wrestling. He and TNA entered into a Separation Agreement and General Release, which prohibited him from disclosing any confidential information to competing companies. The employee violated that agreement by then accessing and downloading trade secrets, according to TNA's complaint.

Months later, the man was hired at WWE. At least three weeks later, WWE fired the man and then alerted TNA that he had disclosed confidential information, such as talent compensation, to the new employer.

Even though WWE eventually fired the man and notified TNA of the disclosure, TNA was unsatisfied with the response. According to TNA, WWE waited three weeks after receiving the information to act and notify TNA of the disclosure. They maintain that the termination and notification should have happened immediately. Because it did not, TNA alleges that WWE illegally obtained the information so that they could persuade members of TNA to come over to WWE. While the case is still in court, WWE has stated that it intends to stay far away from TNA employees while the case continues.

Accusations of stealing, disclosing and using illegally obtained information can be very serious in New York and nationwide. Companies are typically very protective of their trade secrets, so if they feel as though someone has unlawfully accessed them and shared them with the competition, they can aggressively pursue charges.

Source: TWNP News, "WWE Steering Clear Of All Recent TNA Talent Including Ric Flair," Steve Carrier, Sept. 16. 2012

  • It can be challenging to understand the rights and limitations that certain contracts and agreements place on employees. For more information on labor law issues related to non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, please visit our New York City Employment Law page.