The Employment Relations Authority has rejected an employer’s claims that a web designer it employed breached its confidentiality and copyright when he left their employment and went to work for an alternative employer.  It is alleged that he copied their website designs for the clients he had worked on with the employer at his new place of employment.

The ERA found that there were no breaches of confidential information as the website builder material that the employee used at the new place of employment was open source software and was not confidential information of the employer.

As there were no provisions in the employment agreement regarding copyright the ERA held that it could not inquire into any of the alleged breaches of copyright as they were not an employment issue and should be dealt with in the ordinary Courts.

If employers want to protect information they need to carefully draft their employment agreements to make sure that they cover the situation they want to protect.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer