Last Updated on 11.7.16 by Danielle Clements
An ex-employee has been prosecuted and fined after taking confidential client information to a rival firm without the permission of his former employers. It was reported on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website that a former waste disposal employee emailed the details of almost 1000 clients to his own personal email address before leaving the company for a role at a direct rival.
The ICO, who are an independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, have taken an unprecedented step in taking action and warning others to think very carefully before taking client records. Under the Data Protection Act 1998, it is a criminal offence to take client records that hold personal information to a new job without prior consent. In this case, the ex-employee emailed details that contained contact details, purchase history of customers and information of a commercially sensitive nature. The Court ordered the offender to pay a total of £735.98 in fines and costs.
Gorvins’ Approach to Settling Such Disputes
The important thing that any employee needs to know is that documents they have produced or worked on are the property of the company they work for and not their own to take; this is the law that needs to be abided by.
I have dealt with a number of cases where former employees have taken confidential information from employers before they have resigned and moved on. Depending on the circumstances of the case, normally this type of matter it would be pursued through urgent Injunctive Proceedings in the High Court due to the seriousness of the case, preventing the former employee from using the confidential information followed by a claim against the former employee – and often the new employer too – for damages. An injunction is a court order that prohibits a person from taking a particular action or requires them to take a particular action.
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