While most employees will be keen to hold on to their jobs in this period of economic uncertainty, there will always be those who see opportunity in times of challenge and could using the time and freedom to shape plans for their next role. Most employment contracts will include a “full time and attention” clause requiring the employee to focus on his/her job when on your payroll.
The English courts recognise the concept of a springboard advantage, whereby an employee gets an unfair head start on setting up and establishing a new competing business by engaging in unlawful acts, including while still employed. While ultimately you cannot stop an employee from choosing to leave, and potentially also from competing (depending on whether enforceable anti-compete restrictive covenants are in place), it is possible to seek injunctive relief to redress the balance of any unfair springboard advantage and to protect your confidential information.
If you have reason to be concerned about the possible conduct of an employee or team, act quickly and carefully. Take early legal advice and beware commencing any internal IT investigation that will undermine the reliability of computer forensic evidence.
This provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.