Confidential information and trade secrets in employment
Confidential information and trade secrets in employment

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Confidential information and trade secrets in employment
  • Categories of information—generally
  • Distinguishing between trade secrets and confidential information
  • Distinguishing between confidential information, general skill and knowledge and other information
  • Information which ceases to be a trade secret or confidential
  • The implied duty—during employment
  • The implied duty—after employment
  • The implied duties—exceptions and defences
  • Express terms protecting confidential information after termination of employment—general
  • Express terms—employee's own skill and knowledge
  • more

UPDATE: On 21 July 2019, following its consultation on ‘Confidentiality clauses: measures to prevent misuse in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination’, the government announced that it proposes to: (1) legislate so that no provision in a confidentiality clause can prevent disclosures to the police, regulated health and care professionals and legal professionals, (2) legislate so that limitations in confidentiality clauses are clearly set out in employment contracts and settlement agreements, (3) produce guidance for solicitors and legal professionals responsible for drafting settlement agreements, (4) legislate to enhance the independent legal advice received by individuals signing confidentiality clauses, and (5) introduce enforcement measures for confidentiality clauses that do not comply with legal requirements in written statements of employment particulars and settlement agreements. For further information, see: LNB News 22/07/2019 20.

As noted in Practice Note: The duty of fidelity and fiduciary duties, the duty of fidelity implied into every contract of employment will generally prevent an employee from disclosing to third parties confidential information which comes to his knowledge during the course of his employment. In addition to this, certain very confidential information, generally known as trade secrets, will be protected by the equitable duty of confidence. These two duties have combined historically to determine the implied duty on an employee