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Confidential information and employment contracts: Is your business protected against your employees if things turn sour?

September 2, 2016

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My employee sent himself a series of emails disclosing confidential information about my business..

Bill’s story..

Bill runs a small mechanics garage in Sydney’s south. He has 4 employees working full time. Given the size of his business, and the small town in which he operates, Bill treats his employees like family. He spent a lot of one on one time with each of his employees when he first hired them. He taught them the ins and outs of running his business, and taught them all the trade secrets he knew.

Bill’s brother in law works in HR for a large national retailer and advised Bill that he should make sure he gives each employee an employment contract upon commencement. Not being able to afford an HR manager or advisor, Bill took his brother in law’s advice and bought an employment contract from a website on the internet and gave one to each of his employees. He didn’t read them very thoroughly before he gave them to his employees.

Bill recently sat down to clear the backlog of emails on the office computer and found a series of emails that Rob, one of Bill’s best employees had sent to his personal email address, and the email address of Bill’s competitor in town. The emails included confidential information such as  price lists, supplier lists, how-to-manuals and passwords.

Can Bill do anything?

Depending on the contents of the employment contracts Bill bought online, he may be able to enforce a confidentiality clause and look to terminate Rob for breach of contract. With no employment contract in place, or no confidentiality clause, Bill would struggle in disciplining Rob and defending a potential claim if he terminated Rob’s employment. If Bill did terminate Rob without following a proper disciplinary process, it is likely that he would face large legal costs in defending a claim.

At HR Assured, we understand that running a small business is hard work. Your main concern is turning that hard work into profit for the business. We understand that you have a huge number of tasks to manage every day, and how easy it is to overlook something so important i.e. people management.

HRA Cloud is our innovative Human Resources Information Solution (HRIS). This cradle-to-grave management system provides you with the right tools, processes and up to date information to minimise the risk of being exposed to claims.

Our aim is to take the stress of people management away from you, and leave you to focus on your main concern – running the business itself.

In Bill’s situation, HR Assured could offer not only legislative compliant but bespoke employment contracts to suit the specific needs of Bill’s business. As well as providing compliant employment contracts, HR Assured would advise on and instruct Bill on how to resolve any such workplace dispute, taking him through a step-by-step process.

If you’d like more information about the benefits of becoming an HR Assured client, contact us today for an informal chat.