In a recent case a wife was fired after her husband resigned to go to another job.  The employer suspected collusion and feared loss of sensitive information to the new employer in the similar industry.  The employer’s suspicions were further reinforced because the couple would not name the new employer.

The Employment Relations Authority held that there was no link between the husband’s new job and the wife’s employment.  The products made were different, the wife had no access to sensitive information and there was no evidence of a threat to secret information.

The Authority held that there was no obligation to divulge the name of the new employer and awarded the wife $20,000 for lost income and $15,000 for hurt and humiliation.

If an employer suspects that their trade secrets are being improperly disclosed then they should take steps to investigate.  A forensic evaluation of the suspect’s computer may show the transfer of material by email. We are able to recommend experts in this field who will clone the computer hard drive to preserve the evidence.

If evidence is uncovered that tends to suggest foul play then disciplinary action can be taken.  Our free guide to conducting a disciplinary investigation can be obtained here.  It is very important to follow the correct process so that you do not end up paying compensation to those you suspect of being the thieves.