Confidential and Proprietary Information
Information that is created, acquired or controlled by AFC® and is not common knowledge is considered confidential and proprietary, and must be kept secure. It includes, but is not limited to:
- business plans, including marketing strategies
- competitive information such as pricing
- contracts, existing and pending
- supplier or vendor lists
- acquisition and divestment details
- recipes and operating procedures
- new products and product research and development
- financial budgets, targets, projections and performance
- employee, customer or franchise partner records or information
- any other information that can be used to give AFC a competitive advantage or harm AFC
- Employees must carefully guard against the disclosure of confidential and proprietary information, except to authorized individuals on a "need to know" basis or as required by law.
- Employees are prohibited from using any confidential or proprietary information for their own benefit and from sharing it with others for any personal benefit.
- Employees should not attempt to acquire competitors' trade secrets or confidential and proprietary information through unethical or illegal means such as theft, espionage, or disclosures by the competitors' present or former employees.
As a result:
- Employees should not discuss confidential or proprietary information in public, on public or cellular phones, via external e-mail or through any other unsecured means. Inadvertent disclosure is potentially as damaging as intentional disclosure.
- While gathering competitive information (i.e. benchmarking, information, best practices, etc.), AFC employees should proceed in the same ethical and legal manner that AFC would like to be treated by its competitors. In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, employees should avoid seeking or receiving information directly from AFC's competitors. AFC can accept competitive information where it is believed that the receipt and use of the information is ethical and lawful.