Confidentiality and Confidential Information (employers)

As a matter of the general law, the employer ownsť its trade secrets or confidential information and the employee cannot use or misuse these secrets and information.

Is all information confidential?

Not all. You can only protect information that really is confidential, i.e. information that would be harmful to you in the hands of someone else.

However, you cannot stop the employee from using his own skill and knowledge gained during the employment or after it ends, since this is the employee’s property.

As you can imagine, it can sometimes be difficult to pin down what is proprietary.

What is confidential information?

In an employment law context, one test to determine confidential information is:

  • Does the employer think that disclosures would be injurious to him or advantageous to his rivals or to others?
  • Does the owner believe that the information in question is still confidential (i.e. that it has not already become public)?
  • Are those beliefs reasonable?

The information must be judged in the light of the practices of the trade, business or industry concerned.

How can Roberta help?

Roberta believes that prevention is better than the cure and that businesses and professional firms should make sure that they protect themselves in their employment contracts and other documentation to make sure that confidential information doesn’t get into the hands of and be used by a competitor.

Contact Roberta for a review your documentation.

Of course, former employees do sometimes disclose or use confidential information and Roberta can advise you on what to do and whether you can obtain an injunction to prevent further disclosure or use and perhaps damages.