SOX Abuse? 800

  • I have a friend who is an interior designer/project manager. She just moved to a new state and is looking for employment. She terminated her employment with previous employer at own will. Took back-up tape of construction documents and drawings that had been done for her clients. Back-up tape is now missing. Needs these documents for portfolio in seeking new employment.
    Contacted previous employer, but has refused her entry into building and access to her projects citing SOX Act.
    Is this just?
    Someone please let me know.

  • It depends on the employment agreement. It has also to do with intellectual property issues.
    First step: Is there an employment agreement? There must be a paragraph ‘Intellectual Property Created Within Scope of Employment’
    Ownership Provisions: Intellectual property created by employees who were employed specifically to produce a particular intellectual property shall be owned by the … (employer? employee?) if intellectual property was created within the normal scope of their employment.
    Intellectual Property includes any patentable invention, any copyrightable subject matter, or trade secret. It also includes works of art, and inventions or creations that might normally be developed on a proprietary basis.

  • It is difficult to see where physical access to an office building relates to SOX. It is less difficult to see where safeguarding of assets is a part of SOX as this is specifically mentioned in the regulations. If the back-up docs are property of the former employer, then one could argue that this is SOX-related.
    She needs to seek legal counsel on this one. It is a bigger issue than anything SOX-related.

  • After thinking about this some more, physical access to the building would be considered an entity-level control. Still, I think that the explanation of denying access is not related to SOX. The access control is over unauthorized access, not authorized access. Just another example of using SOX as an excuse to not allow something to occur.

  • Kymike, I agree with you. The case has nothing to do with SOX. With my previous answer, I tried to give a direction, what someone can do in a situation like that.

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