Confidential information in the workplace
All businesses have confidential information that they do not want disclosed to competitors. You can’t run a business however without sharing commercially sensitive information with your employees.
UK law provides some protection to prevent employees from disclosing and sharing confidential information or company trade secrets.
Employees are under an implied duty of fidelity and therefore obliged not to share confidential information or trade secrets with third parties, either while employed or after their employment has ended.
Confidential information includes customer databases, target prospect lists, supplier lists, price lists and business processes.
Whilst the law provides some protection, it’s a good idea to stipulate more specific obligations and protections via confidentiality clauses in your employment contracts. Employers may protect confidential information that isn’t already public knowledge. You may also include restriction clauses dictating what employees may do with the knowledge they have obtained when they leave your employment.
Employers may also include post termination restrictions to prevent employees working for a competitor for a set period dependent on the nature of the sensitive information.
What to do if employees breach confidentiality obligations
As an employer, you position is stronger if the contract of employment includes a confidentiality clause and post-termination restrictions.
To prevent a former employee from using confidential information, employers can apply for an interim injunction or springboard injunction.
The employer may also make a claim for damages if financial loss is suffered as a result of the breach.
365 employment Law assists employers in protecting their confidential information by:
- Identifying and defining confidential information and trade secrets
- Creating employer and employee confidentiality clauses for your employee handbook
- Drafting post-termination restrictions including non-compete clauses
- Advising employers in managing employee exit
- Dealing with injunction applications where a breach of confidentiality is suspected
For more information about how we can help you to protect your business information, telephone 01903 863284 or use the contact form to detail your requirements.