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Court orders ex-employees to destroy confidential information they took

Court orders ex-employees to destroy confidential information they took

The High Court has made an interim order for the destruction of confidential information belonging to a former employer which had been taken by ex-employees and used by their new employer despite the fact that the Court could not find any previous authority for ordering the destruction of such material.

Given that the defendants had admitted taking and knowingly misusing their former employer’s confidential information and had been deceitful in doing so, the Court did not believe that the defendants could be trusted to locate and delete the information themselves. The Court had confidence that the former employer would establish a claim for breach of confidence at trial and so an order for destruction of the confidential information would also be made. This favoured the granting of an order substantially in the form requested by the former employer.

However, there were a number of safeguards in the order such as the requirement that the defendants’ devices and computers be delivered to their IT expert, not that of their former employer, that if there was a dispute about whether the material contained confidential information belonging to the former employer, it didn’t have to be shown to the former employer if the defendants maintained that it also contained their confidential information, and copies of the imaging would be kept so that if it was subsequently discovered that material had been wrongly deleted, it could be returned to the defendants.