Don’t go too far when investigating trade secret misappropriation by an employee (Fairly Competing, Episode 17)

Episode 17 of Fairly Competing is out!

When an employee leaves for a competitor, it’s not uncommon for the former employer to investigate whether the employee took information on the way out the door. But, a recent case from the Georgia Court of Appeals, Patel v. Duke Hospitality LLC, highlights some limits on what the former employer can do.

As Ben Fink discusses in a recent article about the case, “Employers often assume they are empowered to exercise broad discretion when investigating employee computer misconduct, especially when employees are suspected of using company emails or computers to engage in the misconduct. However, employers should be aware of potential liability that could arise from their digital investigations and monitoring of employee computer and email use.”

In this episode, John MarshBen, and I discuss how the teachings of the Patel v. Duke Hospitality LLC case affect what employers can and cannot do when they suspect misappropriation by a departing employee.

You can join us on Spotify or Apple Podcasts or go to, if you’re just looking for the RSS feed.

And, because this show is for you, please email John, Ben, or me with any topics you’d like to hear us discuss. While we cannot offer legal advice on the show, we can certainly discuss any issues you may be wondering about.


*Thank you again to Erika Hahn for the intro and outro voice over, Tyler Beck for the music, and mohamed_hassan for the base image.