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As part of the project that I was doing at a company that I recently joined I need to submit a report to my college. During the start of the project I made it clear that I would need to submit the report about the work that I will do here. In the contract it was specifically mentioned that I cannot share any trade secrets or any deals that the company closes or is in the processes of.

Now in the report I have included dummy data that would help the faculty at college understand the work. I mailed and also personally asked for permission to share the dummy data which according to me doesn't reveals any customer information but one can understand the business model by looking at the dummy data.

Till now I haven't got any response from my manager about this. The report is getting delayed and it will affect my grades. How should I handle this situation? Because without the dummy data my project would be meaningless and hard to explain.

I can ask for the permission with the upper management but I am not sure if this would be a good idea.

  • Why don't you send a gentle reminder? – Sourav Ghosh Apr 17 at 5:20
  • @SouravGhosh I have but no response till now. – Prison Mike Apr 17 at 5:21
  • Also, when did you send the email and what is the timeline for getting a response and communicate back to your college? – Sourav Ghosh Apr 17 at 5:21
  • I asked for permission last week. I was asked to submit the report this monday. I have communicated with the faculty at college that I am waiting for permission. – Prison Mike Apr 17 at 5:29
  • @JoeStrazzere I did. He said he will look into this and reply. He hasn't replied since. – Prison Mike Apr 17 at 11:45
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You should have the whole report reviewed and approved by your manager before sending it out to an external party. This is because it may present other information about the company that you are not allowed to share (process, know-how, etc.), and with your contract in place, you would want to be on the safe side.

Depending on your relation to your boss and their physical location (are they in the same office as you?), you can either go to them and ask in person (this is what I would recommend), write an email and present the situation, or schedule a meeting with your agenda in place.

Only if these attempts all fail, contact their supervisor. Be careful not to blame your boss, instead frame your message around how you assume they are maybe too busy, and ask for guidance on how to proceed.

  • @SouravGhosh I shared all the deliverables with the manager – Prison Mike Apr 17 at 5:47
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    @SouravGhosh I don't imply the OP has already sent the report. If I did, the answer would have said "You should have had the whole report reviewed." If you find the wording confusing, please feel free to edit. It was just a general warning for this sort of situation. – JohnSomeone Apr 17 at 5:49
  • @JohnSomeone Right, so I don't really see the point of that sentence, what you're trying to express with that one? OP should do something which he already did? – Sourav Ghosh Apr 17 at 5:51
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    @SouravGhosh It was not clear from the question, at least to me, if OP was trying to have just the data reviewed, or the entire report, so I warned them just in case. – JohnSomeone Apr 17 at 5:53
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Unfortunately, there is no other way to ensure that you do not breach any contract clause other than getting that report (and associated data) approved by your manager or any other appropriate authority, as required by your organization.

You need to handle the communication in both the fronts.

  • Follow up with your manager on a more regular basis (start with once a day) about getting it reviewed and approved. Ask if you can reach out to someone else (maybe in the information security department) to have this verified, if he/she is occupied.

    Also, add a couple of words in the communication to remind him/her the importance of this report in respect of your grades.

  • Meanwhile, inform your university about the approval process taking time and give them a heads-up about the foreseeable delay. Also mention you are actively working to get a clearance from your management to submit the report.

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Maybe your boss is not sure either if you are allowed to send this report in this form and so is hesitant to allow you to send it as he could get into trouble if he lets you release it. As your boss has something to lose and not a lot to win by letting you submit the report, he will tend to more restrictive.

Next two steps:

a) send an encrypted version of your report to the college. This ensures that you can prove that you finished the report in time and you can send the password as soon as you get the permission.

b) ask your college to send a mail to the company. Maybe the NDA could be extended to someone in your faculty so that they would be allowed to read it even if your report could not be published.

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