The High Court has found in favour of an employer and granted springboard relief when three key employees were headhunted by a competitor. During the disclosure process, it was revealed that these employees had, during their employment and garden leave, planned to secure the resignation of several more employees, to move them, together with a number of clients, to their new business. It was found that the key employees had gained springboard advantages during their employment through their unlawful conduct, including:
- Using their seniority to influence staff they wished to approach;
- Soliciting customers; and
- Using confidential information to help secure financial backing for the new business venture.
The employer was granted springboard relief for 12 months from the date on which the key employees resigned to compensate for the head start which the employees had unlawfully gained.
Key point – the judgment provides useful guidance in the case of team moves and should hopefully deter employees from acting in breach of fiduciary duties and the duty of fidelity.
QBE Management Services (UK) Ltd v Dymoke and others (2012) (High Court)