Josephson Litigation Counsel

Employment disputes: Employee caught stealing confidential info

Accreditation Canada, a not-for-profit organisation that helps healthcare institutions across the country qualify for accreditation, had to resort to the courts for an injunction to stop two former employees from using stolen confidential information. Such employment disputes can have devastating consequences for any company.

The company apparently discovered that one of their employees, a regional manager, was forwarding emails containing confidential information to his personal email account. He was ordered to stop, but secretly continued. 

After transferring information to his personal account, the manager deleted it from his employer's system. Client details, market strategies, accreditation methods and other highly confidential materials had all been available to the employee.

The employee was later dismissed for unsatisfactory performance, but without reference to his covert activity. Before leaving the company, he had already lined up a partner -- a former employee of this company -- to start a business similar to Accreditation Canada. 

Evidence further reveals that he had reported being sick at a time when he was actually in meetings with potential clients for his new business, which was built on some of the stolen information. The Court found that both men had breached the terms of their employment agreements and ordered them to stop the offending conduct.

The story illustrates how businesses, competitive advantages and sensitive data can all be vulnerable. Prudent business owners can take specific, proactive measures to protect confidential information and prevent employment disputes that could have an adverse impact on their business. Retaining the services of an experienced employment lawyer may provide valuable guidance on implementing precautions against the theft of confidential information.

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