I have to agree with the trend highlighted in this article. We have seen an increase in enquiries from clients about concerns with employees removing confidential information.
Due to the way in which businesses are reliant upon IT systems and software, it has become increasingly easy for employees to access and remove confidential information.
If a business suspects that a disgruntled employee is removing confidential information, they need to act immediately.
What is key in these situations is how the employer reacts and what they do once they are aware that confidential information has been removed.
Do they bring this to the attention of the employee immediately and follow disciplinary procedures?
Or, do they conduct a wider investigation without tipping off the employee to discover how deep the betrayal goes?
Is the employer able to discover what the disgruntled employee's intentions might be with regards to the confidential information. Questions raised include: are they intending to use the data to set up a competing business, or to work for a competitor?
There is no universally correct way to approach these types of cases, which is why it is important to get the right advice at an early stage.
So what can employers do about it? In an attempt to mitigate this risk, they can:-
- Have robust policies and procedures regarding data security, which is reviewed regularly; and
- Ensure employees' contracts of employment and handbooks incorporate restrictions on the use of confidential information (both during and post employment) and suitable post termination covenants.
Even with careful foresight and risk mitigation planning, removal of data can still occur. If this happens, then it is important to know what can be done about it.
There are a variety of ways to deal with an errant employee who removed confidential information. One of the most effective methods is the remedy of injunctive relief. The effect of this would be to ask the Court to make an order to requiring the employee to deliver up all of the confidential information he/she has removed, along with an order preventing the employee from using the confidential information.
If you believe that this is something that is or might be affecting you, contact Sophie Samani on 0121 214 1215. The option to apply for injunctive relief is time sensitive, which means that action needs to be taken at a very early stage.
The number of High Court cases involving employees stealing confidential data has increased by 25pc in a year, according to new figures.