It is an established legal principle that employees cannot remove confidential documents from their employer (or retain confidential documents that they have removed when they were employed) for the purposes of taking legal advice.

Not all employees are aware of the general legal position but in some disputed court cases it can be fundamentally important.

The recent case of Nissan v Passi is a very useful reminder of this point to potentially acquisitive employees as it reaffirmed the existing principle.

Of course, each case always turns on its own facts but, following the Nissan v Passi case, there are some basic things for employees (and employers) to remember:-

  • Employees who take confidential information from their employers may actually prejudice and harm their own positions in relation to court applications, especially for things like discovery of documents, costs applications and financial compensation
  • Employees really ought to resist the temptation to store actual documents or information for a “rainy day” occasion or in contemplation of some future dispute, claim or litigation
  • Instead, employees would be better advised to keep contemporaneous notes and these can include lists of documents or the type of documents they think might be helpful to them in future
  • It is never a good idea for employees to store this kind of information on their employers’ computers or servers
  • Although it is quite rare these days, employees should generally adopt an old fashioned “pen and paper” approach
  • Employers’ lawyers know how to make things very difficult for an employee who has retained confidential information belonging to their clients

We are established and experienced employment law experts at aiMac-hr advising on associated legal matters relating to confidential information and documents so please do get in touch with us if you need any help.