Wednesday, December 06, 2006, 12/06/2006 07:34:00 AM

Trade Secrets in EEOC Investigations Redux

From Corporate Counsel via Law.com and two employment lawyers at Blank Rome in Washington, a further and more detailed take on the Venetian Casino Report v. EEOC, 2006 WL 2806568 (D.D.C. 2006) case that we reported on here in October.

The case concerns confidential information provided to the EEOC in connection with discrimination claims and the manner in which it becomes unprotected as a result.

The article concludes with some trenchant practical advice:

Documents turned over to agencies during the investigation phase of an administrative charge, even if marked as confidential, are subject to disclosure to third parties. A thoughtless response to an EEOC information request could lead to disclosure of confidential and proprietary information, trade secrets and other highly sensitive corporate data. As such, it is critical that companies responding to the EEOC do not ignore the importance of careful response and production of documents to the Commission at all stages of the administrative process. Care must be taken in analyzing the information to be provided, with consideration of whether a response can be made without producing otherwise confidential or proprietary information. Be knowledgeable and understand your rights to challenge and/or limit information requests. Talk to legal counsel about protective measures such as submitting motions to quash a subpoena or for a protective order. At the very least, take the time to carefully review documents and to redact sensitive company information.

Words to the wise.

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