A publishing company has been granted a further injunction preventing its former chief executive officer from disclosing sensitive information obtained during his employment.
Mark Aspin Director & Head of Dispute Resolution reports.
The executive had worked for the publisher until he was dismissed for gross misconduct in 2018.
He threatened to bring employment tribunal proceedings, but the case was settled in July 2018. The settlement agreement defined what confidential information was and the executive warranted that he had returned all such information.
The publisher later brought proceedings against its accountant alleging negligence. The executive was not party to the proceedings, but he was mentioned in relation to conduct and a misuse of funds.
The press approached him for comment. On 30 January 2021, he emailed executives of the publisher’s parent company stating that he had damning evidence from when he was an employee which he would release publicly if his name was not removed from the proceedings.
The publisher obtained an injunction which prevented him from disclosing any information and served it on him the same day via email. He emailed on 2 February asking the publisher to leave him alone.
He sent another email later that day stating that he did not have any documents from the time he was employed, he had nothing that was not already in the public domain.
The High Court granted the publisher’s application to have the injunction extended.
It held that under the terms of the settlement agreement, the executive had an obligation to return documents acquired during his employment. In the January email, he clearly stated that he had a lot of information relating to the time of his employment.
In his February email he denied having any such documents. Because of his conflicting statements and evasiveness, the publisher’s concerns were justified. The executive had not been truthful, and it seemed that he had been covertly recording meetings with authors.
Until he gave a full explanation of his position and the January email, there was a risk that he would disclose the documents. The publisher was therefore entitled to the continuation of the injunction.
If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article please contact Mark on 01228 585245.