Business: how to protect confidential information and customer contacts

Business: how to protect confidential information and customer contacts

Brachers is seeing an increase in requests for advice about employees taking steps after leaving employment which have the potential to damage their businesses. 

While some organisations have protections in place, not all are strong enough. We are advising all business owners to review their employee contracts and post-employment restrictive covenants to make sure their business has the protection it needs.

Research indicates:

  • 92% of businesses do not have an automated procedure in place when an employee leaves.
  • 58% of employees retain access to employers’ networks after leaving employment.
  • 24% of businesses have experienced data breaches by former employees.

Restrictions protect legitimate business interests

An important aspect of maintaining a successful organisation is being able to protect critical business assets including confidential information, customer and client details and business strategies. Having post-termination restrictive terms contained within an individual’s contract of employment is vital to protect organisations from this risk.

It’s difficult to put in place effective protections as the starting point for courts is that they should not generally be enforceable. This means that restrictions which limit what employees can do after leaving employment cannot be seen to be too extensive in terms of the time period, customers, markets or geographical region covered.

Employers should keep in mind that employment contracts are likely to need to be reviewed before April 2020 when new laws will come in, imposing more stringent requirements on employers to provide specified information in writing to employees.  Revisiting restrictions would be a sensible step as part of this review.

Brachers Employment Team has expertise in drafting employment contracts, reviewing restrictive covenants, and steps an employer can take to protect itself from potential damage from employees, or former employees.

Recent client Michael Lent, from Lexent Partners Ltd, has described how working with Brachers improved the business:

"Our business recently experienced a number of different and sometimes complex employment issues. Catherine Daw and her team have been excellent at guiding us through the minefield as well as being very efficient and effective in resolving claims. They are always a pleasure to deal with; simply put, they provide a great service."

We have further information available on restrictive covenants or in a downloadable booklet (PDF).