By Samuel McMahon

28 March 2017

When an employee ceases work with a business, a number of things need to be considered. Amongst these is the protection of your business secrets and contacts.

A large part of the parameters of these are already set down in whatever employment contract your employee has been working under (and therefore it is essential to have a properly-drafted employment contract, which we recommend you have legally reviewed prior to signing a new employee up).

However, there are other, supplementary, actions which you can take prior to the employee leaving which can help to protect your interests. For example, a diligent check of what e-mails, client numbers etc. are available to an employee and through what media (e.g. are they on the employee’s private mobile or laptop?) can help to reduce the opportunity an employee may take after termination to use them. Even though you may have the technical right to seek an injunction if the employee misuses e-mails retained on a personal laptop, or telephone numbers retained on a personal mobile telephone, timely preventative action can avert the need for an injunction application, which is costly, and whether to grant an injunction is always a matter of discretion for a court, a discretion the court may not choose to exercise in your favour for a number of potential reasons.

After an employee has finally left, it can pay to have a proper search undertaken of literature (particularly literature available on the internet and social media) connecting the employee to your business. Even if you are not physically in control of the material, you will be unable to take such appropriate steps as you can if you are not even aware of the material.

The termination of an employee’s employment, particularly one of long standing in your business, raises many questions which can have a complicated legal answer. Tisher Liner FC Law recommends that employers, and employees, uncertain of their rights surrounding termination to seek legal advice appropriate to your particular contract and situation.

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