How far can an employee go in removing employer documents to prove a case?

An important part of the decision in Erhart v. BofI Holding, Inc. relates to an issue that we occasionally confront in employment practice cases, namely what happens when an employee steals confidential documents to use in his lawsuit against the company?The issue is more complicated than it seems.  The American Bar Association standards (Rule 8.4 and Rule 3.4) prohibit the use of evidence that has been wrongfully appropriated by a witness or a party.  That would seem to argue against making use of documents stolen from an employer by a potential plaintiff.  On the other hand, there is a societal interest in promoting whistleblowing to ferret out corporate wrongdoing, and frequently the best evidence of the wrongdoing is contained in a company's computer files or documentation.That was the issue confronted by the federal court in this case.  The judge issued a fairly interesting ruling that splits the baby neatly.  The court ruled that the public…

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