The need for employers to protect their confidential information, and for employees to understand what knowledge they acquire throughout their employment can and cannot be taken with them to future roles, has never been more important.
A carefully worded confidentiality clause is essential in any employment contract, to protect both parties’ both during and post-employment.
Employers need to define what information they consider confidential to make sure their important business assets are protected, and Employees need to be aware of what they can and can’t use if and when they move on to their next job (or in their own business if they decide to open up in competition).
Even though all employees have obligations at common law not to take or use confidential information belonging to their employer after they leave, and some industries and roles are subject to specific regulations regarding the protection of client information, every employment relationship should have clearly defined obligations which specify what type of information is considered confidential.
Equally, when the employment relationship ends, employers must ensure that any deed of release or settlement makes it clear that, even though the employment relationship has ended, the employee’s obligations to protect and not use confidential information belonging to the employer continues.
And employees need to be aware that their former employers may take legal action against them to prevent them from using or disclosing confidential information, and to recover losses incurred from any breach of confidentiality.