September 2 2013.

How much control are employers legally allowed to exert on former employees who have left to go it alone or work for a competitor.

The Supreme Court recently gave a decision that highlights for businesses the importance of protecting confidential information and know-how. The decision in this case shows just how crucial it is for businesses to have adequate protection in place, and demonstrates the potential impact of failing to adequately protect confidential information, especially when former employees leave and set up competing businesses.

In an employment relationship, employees are under a duty not to divulge their employer's confidential information and are subject to an implied duty not to disclose their former employer's trade secrets after their employment terminates. However, the vast majority of employers ensure that clauses are inserted in their employees' contracts that impose this as an express obligation that endures after the employment relationship ends.

Such express clauses are often widely drafted to ensure the employer has greater protection than would otherwise be implied in law. What constitutes "confidential information" is often broadly defined in the contract of employment but generally includes any information given in confidence, whether formally or informally.

To find out more, turn to page 43 of the September issue of Motorcycle Trader, or CLICK HERE to read the digital version online at