Taking Employer Documents Could Land An Employee In Jail

Employment Attorneys Serving Northern and Central New Jersey

In June of 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that an employee who takes an employer's confidential documents can face criminal prosecution. In the case, State v. Saavedra, a school board employee allegedly took confidential student files – some of which were the only copy – along with other documents that contained personal information about other individuals.

This ruling has clarified that it illegal for an employee to take:

  1. An employer's original documents
  2. An employer's only copy of documents
  3. Documents that contain confidential information about other individuals
  4. Documents that an employee was not entitled to see while performing their job duties

This ruling has created a chilling effect on employees who believe their employer has violated anti-discrimination and whistleblower laws.

Many employers now resort to intimidation and scare tactics at the advice of their legal teams. When you are already facing unfair or illegal treatment at work, scare tactics might prevent you from blowing the whistle. Do not let that happen. You have several rights and protections. The employment lawyers at Green Savits are here to help see that those remain in place while we fight tirelessly to ensure that justice is served.

Which Documents can Be Legally Taken?

Document copies that the employee was entitled to see during their course of employment can be legally taken by employees. These include:

  • Employee performance reviews
  • Job offer letters addressed to the employee
  • Distributed employer manuals
  • Emails, memos, and correspondence the employee sent or received
  • Email attachments

Documents lying around copiers, in garbage pails or in plain view on other employee's desks should not be taken.

Securing Classified Documents

If you are aware of a document that cannot legally be obtained by you, but may prove illegal conduct by your employer, please catalog it with the following information:

  1. The type of document
  2. The date of the document
  3. The subject of the document
  4. The sender and recipient of the document
  5. Where you viewed the document

With this information, our employment lawyers can request the document during the discovery phase. If the document disappears, it infers the employer is hiding or destroying evidence.

Contact Us for Help

If you need help with a whistleblower or any other type of employment case, the attorneys at Green Savits, LLC are here to listen to your story and provide you honest information about your options. We have extensive experience representing whistleblowers along with victims of discrimination in federal and state trial and appellate courts. Call (973) 695-7777 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.