Confidential information: inspection of ex-employee’s computers
In Warm Zones (WZ) v Sophie Thurley (T) and Alex Buckley (B), T and B were employed by WZ and had access to WZ’s database, containing information about potential customers. Both T and B’s employment contract contained express confidentiality provisions stopping them using or disclosing any confidential information about the organisation during and/or after employment. When their employment ended, T and B joined a competitor of WZ.
T brought an employment tribunal claim against WZ for unfair dismissal. During these proceedings, emails were discovered that suggested that both T and B had disclosed, or were prepared to disclose, details of WZ’s database information to a competitor. WZ applied for an interim injunction based on improper use of the customer database and specifically seeking an order for the inspection and imaging of T and B’s personal computers.
WZ had spent several years and significant resources creating its ‘unique’ database. The database had commercial value as it contained information not in the public domain…
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