Act on Protecting Trade Secrets

New Legislation Enacted

The new Act on Protecting Trade Secrets is based on an EU-directive, which aims to streamline and strengthen the effort on trade secrets within the EU. Key aspects of the law include: (1) oral secrets can be protected; (2) uncertainty over protection of technical drawings; (3) a six-month time-limit to submit a case to the courts; and (4) uncertainty over applications to obtain a temporary prohibition. The bill underlines the necessity of companies to have a strategy regarding company secrets, especially with the new six-month time-limit for filing claims with the courts.

Secret Recording of Conversation with Employer Sufficient for Summarily Dismissal

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

The Danish High Court of Eastern Denmark recently held that it was a serious violation of the employment relationship when an employee recorded a conversation with his employer. Here, an employee was terminated after throwing a computer mouse at the company’s CEO during a conversation about salary. Afterwards, the company learned that the employee had recorded the conversation. The Court found that the events at the meeting were not sufficient to summarily dismiss the employee, but the secret recording of the meeting was.

Summarily Dismissal Due to Social Media Post Not Justified

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

An employee posted on his private social media account on the way home from vacation: “I have bought 3 cartons of cigarettes. Need one, who is on duty, to take two of those through customs.” Of his 300 social media friends, 100 were co-workers at the same employer. Finding that it was not posted in a “closed group”, the High Court found the post was a clear violation of the company’s policies on behavior on social media, regardless of whether he was violating customs law. Still, the behavior did not qualify as grounds for a summary dismissal, so he could be terminated with the ordinary notice period.

Proposal to Amend Act on Stock Options

Proposed Bill or Initiative

The Ministry of Employment has proposed amending the Act on Stock Options. Currently, an employee considered as “good leaver” (terminated due to employer’s circumstances) will be entitled to keep his/her stock options rights and receive a proportional “allocation” as though the employee had been employed at the end of the fiscal year. If the bill is passed, such agreements will be annulled when the termination is due to the employer’s circumstances and the parties may agree for the employer to buy back stocks. The aim of the bill is to increase flexibility and simplification of these incentive schemes.

#MeToo Legislation Sent to Hearing

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Due to the global #MeToo movement, the Ministry of Employment sent a bill to hearing to increase sanctions on breaches to the Act on Equal Treatment to show that the Government regards sexual harassment in the workplace as serious. In an apparent attempt to reject Danish courts’ previous rulings, the final note in the bill reads that “It should not be of importance, in the consideration of whether sexual harassment occurred or not, if there were a relaxed work tone or casual work-environment. This is not the employee’s choice, whether or not this is the case.”