A High Court has ruled that, in the right circumstances, an employer may be able to obtain an order for the destruction of confidential information taken from it by departing employees and stored on the ex-employees' computers. The order provided for the imaging and search of the ex-employees' electronic devices and deletion of any of the employer's confidential information found on them; the deletion was to be carried out by the ex-employees' own IT expert and copies of the imaging of the devices were to be preserved so that information could be restored if wrongly removed. This ruling extends the types of interim relief that may be available to employers, and will be a useful option particularly where the ex-employees' conduct suggests they cannot be trusted to delete the material themselves. (Arthur J. Gallagher Services (UK) Ltd v Skriptchenko)
It may also be effective to warn departing employees of the risk of prosecution under the Data Protection Act 1998 if they unlawfully take information about former clients – an employee was recently successfully prosecuted and fined £300 plus costs for taking the contact details of customers, as well as purchase history and commercially sensitive information (details here).