The recent case of OCS Group UK v Mr Dadi has highlighted the importance for employers to put in place measures to prevent the disclosure of confidential information and has also shown the serious consequences for employees who breach Court Orders.
Mr Dadi was employed by the Claimant which was an aviation cleaning contractor. During his employment, the company claimed that Mr Dadi had sent confidential information to his personal email address. As a result, OCS Group UK obtained an interim injunction which prohibited him from disclosing the confidential information that belonged to his employer. The injunction also required him to provide information about what disclosures he had made of the confidential information to any third parties.
In the Court Order, Mr Dadi was ordered to preserve hard copy and electronic documents pending the further hearing. He was also ordered not to disclose the existence of the Order and the possibility of proceedings being commenced to any person other than his legal advisers. At this time, Mr Dadi was unrepresented.
After taking legal advice, Mr Dadi admitted to committing four breaches of the Order which included deleting a significant number of emails and telling third parties about the Order.
After considering the sanction for breach of the Order, the High Court ruled that a short sentence of imprisonment for 6 weeks was appropriate to mark the Court’s strong disapproval of Mr Dadi’s conduct and to act as deterrence both in respect of future compliance and as a warning to others.
Employers are often keen to protect confidential information as in the wrong hands (such as competitors) they can cause serious damage to reputation and loss of profits. This case acts as a reminder to employers to take all appropriate steps to prevent the inadvertent release of confidential information which should include ensuring there are appropriate clauses in employees’ contracts of employment, providing staff training and having appropriate security measures in place concerning both hard copy and electronic information.
If your business requires advice on how best to protect its confidential information, please contact Farleys HR & employment law department on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email here.