Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

If you believe there may be a future problem related to breach of contract because of confidentiality issues (or you’re currently being litigated against for breach of confidentiality) then you will obviously want to ascertain what your legal position is and how you can best protect yourself. This post attempts to take employees (or contractors) through the thought process that should be adopted to undertake a preliminary analysis of the issues involved. However, these issues are complex and it is recommended that the parties to potential litigation obtain independent legal advice from a solicitor. Further, it cannot be emphasised enough that every matter that involves breach of contract is particular to its own facts. It is therefore not possible to offer blanket advice on contractual matters.

This post will therefore address the following issues:

  1. Is there a contract?
  2. What are the contractual terms regarding confidentiality?
  3. What are my options?
Is there a contract?

The first issue to consider is that of whether a contract exists between the parties. A contract can be written or unwritten, express or implied. If there isn’t a written contract then it is important to obtain evidence of the parties’ intentions to enter into a contract and what they intended the terms of the contract to be.

What are the contractual terms regarding confidentiality?

The second issue to consider is what the terms of the contract actually are. The terms of the contract can be express or implied. The express terms of the contract are those terms which were orally agreed to or included (or annexed to) the actual written contract. Again, it can be sometimes difficult to determine what the actual terms of the contract actually were – there can often be significant disputes over these issues. However, in the majority of cases there are clear and explicit contractual agreements determining what the rights and obligations of both parties to the contract are – including confidentiality (which is a boilerplate term in most contracts). Terms can also be implied into the contract for services or contract of service between the parties. These terms can be implied by statute, common law or custom (amongst others). Common implied terms include the duty of mutual trust and confidence, the duty to keep your employer’s trade secrets confidential, and the duty of fidelity to your employer.

A breach of confidence (by, for example, leaking secrets to a competitor) would be a breach of (normally) the express term(s) of confidentiality included within contracts and a breach of a number of implied terms. However, although leaking the information would be a technical breach of contract the other party to the contract would still have to overcome a potentially cumbersome evidential burden to prove causation (or how the competitor came into possession of the information). Further, the other party would also have to demonstrate a tangible loss suffered as a result of the breach of confidentiality – the leaking of the information may have not caused the other party any loss. However, the other party may still be able to obtain an injunction to prevent you from, for example, leaking any further information to the competitor. This may be potentially expensive in itself should you be liable for the costs of an application for interim relief.

What are my options?

If you’re being threatened with (or subjected to) an action for breach of contract (i.e. being sued) then you have, quite bluntly, two potential options:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Negotiate with the other party

Negotiation is always the recommended option. Ignoring a potential problem of this magnitude will always end badly. You can either choose to negotiate or yourself or it may be a prudent time to obtain advice from a solicitor.

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    369 Reviews

    Fidel A

    Redmans Solicitors recently helped me navigate a recent employment termination settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill is very professional and you will be in good hands with him. I score Redmans 4 out of 5 because things had to move fast and felt the team member assigned to my case wasn't very responsive at times. Having said that, I was very happy with the outcome and have no hesitation in recommending their services.

    Posted 7 hours ago

    Nigel A

    Chris Hadrill is hugely impressive - the right blend of assured calm and savvy professionalism. I've already recommended him to friends and family.

    Posted 21 hours ago

    Matt O

    I was hugely impressed with the ease of being able to work with Redmans Solicitors and their professional approach. Mel was really clear around the process, and costings required and I felt comfortable throughout. I would certainly recommend.

    Posted 22 hours ago

    Bryan G

    Great response, and also happy to assist

    Posted 22 hours ago

    David L

    I was made a settlement offer by my employer to terminate my emplyment early. Redmans helped me understand the offer, and ensured that it was fair for someone in my position. They made a very stressful situation much easier. Excellent service.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Anonymous

    I can highly recommend Redmans. The service was professional and prompt and I would not hesitate to use them again. Thanks

    Posted 6 days ago

    Anonymous

    Overall I am satisfied with the performance from Redmans. The reason I have given 4 stars is that I had quite a lot difficulty in contacting the representative which was initially nominated for me. However, when I contacted Chris instead, he was excellent over the phone and secured a great outcome in short order. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Chris and Redmans were a great help. Effective and efficient, quick response from my first enquiry and then straightforward and attentive throughout with ultimately a positive outcome. I will use them again and recommend them.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Marie P

    Great service, quick responses, good advice and all in a no nonsense, no jargon manner. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Rana was amazingly thorough and professional!

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    I am extremely happy with the legal advice I was provided with. My case was resolved to the best of my expectations. Thank you very much for your professional help.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Shahzad R

    Chris and his team were excellent. They provided sound advice and consultation that resulted in more cash than was offered. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Sanjay B

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mel Chin, for all her support during my settlement process. Where she provided a professional service and was understanding. I would confidently recommend Redmans Solicitors to my friends and family. Thank you and wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Paul O

    Excellent response time and communication during my dealings with Redmans

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gil T

    I don’t normally write reviews, but thought it was time on this occasion. Just wanted to say that I highly recommend Redmans - especially Rana Tandon, who helped me navigate around my employment contract. Rana was meticulous and thorough and all over my needs. Would I use Redmans again ? ..absolutely

    Posted 1 month ago

    Stephanie D

    Very thorough and professional service. I was very nervous about my employment case, as I had never dealt with anything like it before. However, the solicitors who handled my case made sure I understood everything. I was never kept in the dark and Redmans kept me constantly informed about what was going on with my case. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 1 month ago

    Richard S

    Chris and Sacha were great throughout the entire process. Chris was very helpful once the initial discussions with my company began and before we agreed there was a case. Sacha was very responsive, patient and helpful throughout ensuring I felt I had the right information to make the best decision on next steps. A close friend and wife have both used Redmans in the past few years for unfair dismissals and the service continues to be first-class and I would strongly recommend them again. They definitely help reduce the anxiety that comes with uncertainty around new processes and situations. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jianya

    Very nice and patient went through the whole document with me.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Susan L

    Very helpful and led me through the redundancy process.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jennice

    I was very impressed with the service that I received, and the speed in which it was handled. I would recommend them to a family member

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Good service, but they could have been quicker in their responses to me. I also felt they could have made it clear at one crucial point that what I was proposing - and what I ultimately ended up doing - was counterproductive. (Had they made the rules around TOIL payments clear to me, this wouldn't have happened). Also, the amount I ended up paying was considerably higher than their original estimate. Still, satisfied with the service I received.

    Posted 1 month ago