EPL ALERT: Employees May be Criminally Responsible for Illegal Use of Employer’s Computer Data
Ninth Circuit – California – April 28, 2011. The government filed a criminal complaint under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) against former and current employees of Korn/Ferry International alleging they obtained information from their employer’s computer system for the purpose of defrauding them and helping to establish a competing business. The government asserted that this exceeded authorized access. The court agreed, holding that since the employer had a computer use policy that placed clear and conspicuous restrictions on the employees’ access both to the system in general and to the particular database in question that the CFAA was violated. This ruling should provide incentive to employers to draft clear language in its computer use policies.