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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Hello, My friend, an associate at a construction company

Resolved Question:

Hello,

My friend, an associate at a construction company wanted to test a business idea in the same industry but providing a totally different service to her previous employer.

To test the idea she emailed a selection of her employers database to email contacts of the company to see if there would be interest.
The vast majority of the emails she used are available in the public domain and only a small percentage of these contacts would have been customers.

Her ex employer has claimed she breached her obligation to confidence however they do not know for sure who she emailed.

She's worried, despite it being only an undeveloped idea and no damages were caused to her ex employer in any way.

Her ex employers lawyer wrote her a letter threatening court action and requesting a signed affidavit detailing who she emailed and that she has deleted any confidential information.

She had already deleted any contact information.

I told her I don't believe a court would hear the case as there was no damages to claim for and that she should sign the affidavit as a result.

Should she sign the affidavit? Would doing so be likely to bring the matter to a close?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What are her obligations of confidence?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello,


 


That she can not in any time use except in the proper course of her employment any information of a confidential nature relating to the business (including customer mailing lists or circulation lists)


 


It also states however:


 


That the restriction will cease to apply to any information in the public domain


 


 


Thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. Strictly speaking she may have breached the confidentiality restriction that she bound by, although it would be a painstaking process to try and work out exactly which email was in the public domain and which was not. But as a whole, the use of the organised database in itself could have been a breach even if some of these contacts were publically available.

Saying that, you are right that a court is unlikely to be interested in dealing with this case as no losses have been suffered by the company so they cannot just penalise her for the use of these contacts. To be able to sue they have to show some losses have occurred, whether financial or serious damage to reputation, none of which apply here.

I think the company are understandably upset that she has used this information without their consent, for something not related to their business. As legal action is unlikely the most probable outcomes would be that they either consider this as a disciplinary issue and pursue that route or they simply want an undertaking from her to confirm she no longer holds the information. I think that there is certainly no harm in signing the affidavit because failure ti di s would make them even more suspicious and they could pursue the matter further as a result. Of core before she signs anything she must ensure she agrees with the contents.

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:


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Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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