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Meat company prevents employee using confidential information

Posted: 20th June 2018   In: Business Employment, Individual Employment

A meat company has been granted an injunction preventing a former employee misusing its confidential information about customers and product prices.

The court heard that the company supplied fresh meat to commercial catering customers. One of its employees resigned after working as a sales executive for two-and-a-half years.

During his employment, he had direct contact with customers, taking and processing orders and seeking new clients.

The company alleged that before resigning, he had emailed a list of contact details of customers to his personal email account. It also alleged that he had been misappropriating documents, dealing with their customers on the side and taking cash payments, which he kept.

He was alleged to have impersonated a Food Safety Agency officer to denigrate the company to customers, and to have withheld funds owed to the company.

The judge said the list of customers and prices was confidential information and the employee had owed a duty of trust to the company. There was prima facie evidence of misappropriation and misuse of information to the company's detriment. The employee might have had grounds to complain about his employment, but that was not an excuse to misuse information. 

The court held that there was a serious issue to be tried at a full hearing. Until that hearing took place, it granted an injunction ordering the employee to return all the confidential material and preventing him from misusing it.

Please contact Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.