A contractual confidentiality term which was intended to run indefinitely and covered confidential information about the employer’s “business, products, affairs and finances” as well as trade secrets was ruled too wide to be enforceable by a High Court Judge.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS?
This case is a stark reminder for employers that “mere confidential information” will not be protected. To be capable of protection, information must amount to a trade secret or equivalent.
Information which is trivial or easily accessible from public sources of information will not be regarded as confidential, nor will information which, once learned, becomes part of an employee’s skill and knowledge.
Employers should ensure that confidentiality clauses are tightly drafted and, as much as possible, tailored to the specific needs of the business. This may require employers to give more thought to the drafting of these clauses than is often the case.
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