Two employees worked together to copy numerous files containing confidential information in the months before they left their employer, to set up a competing investment management business.
Whilst the copying and removal of the confidential information was a breach of their contracts of employment, very few files taken had been accessed or used after they left their employment and because of this their previous employer could not show any financial loss.
In its claim against them it argued it was entitled to damages representing the hypothetical payment
it would have bargained for if they had sought the company’s agreement to use the information. The
company claimed £15 million. This was rejected and instead the company was awarded nominal damages of just £1 per employee, on the basis that the former employees had not used the confidential files to obtain any benefit, and the company could not show it had actually suffered any financial loss. (Marathon Asset Management LLP & Anor v Seddon & Ors)
With thanks to Willans – Cheltenham Law firm – strong on HR advice