Post-Employment Obligations to keep in mind!

Oct 7, 2022

Restraint of Trade clauses and contractual obligations are not the only way to get caught out post-employment.

Did you know that it is the common law based post-employment obligations of confidentiality and fidelity can cause serious problems for workers?

This is particularly so in the area of sales where the worker often has considerable knowledge about the employer’s customers, who they are, their requirements, what they are prepared to pay etc.

While an employee of the company you have a ‘duty of fidelity’ which is a duty to serve your employer faithfully and to avoid situations of conflict between your own interests and that of the employer.

If, at the end of your employment it could be reasonably concluded that you have deliberately removed or copied any of this company information (even if a list of email addresses of customers) DURING your period of employment, you have breached your obligation of fidelity. That breach, in turn, means that any subsequent use of the information will be regarded as wrongful, even if the use only occurs AFTER the employment is ended. Not only can an employee be restrained from using the information, they can be forced to pay damages or stripped of any gains they have already made!

With employers having access to email accounts of workers, care should be taken while still employed – what might be an innocuous email being sent out of the ‘office’ to another email address could well be interpreted as a breach of confidence and the consequences in terms of future liability devastating.

In contrast if the worker has done nothing improper before the employment ends and take nothing away with them (which I recommend!) they are still entitled to move on with their new employer and draw on their natural recollection of the information, without concern for legal action.

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