- Don’t give away shares without written arrangements
You may want to incentivise employees by giving them shares in your company, but doing so without a proper share ownership scheme or shareholders’ agreement may lead to serious problems – you may never get the shares back.
- Impose enforceable restrictions for when your staff leave
Drafting confidentiality clauses and restrictive covenants in an employment contract is a job that requires an employer (and their lawyers) to look ahead and make a judgment about what aspects of their business will need to be protected if the employee leaves. Restrictive covenants should be customised accordingly. “Off the shelf” versions often fail when it comes to enforcement a few years later.
- Protect business data
These days, data is key to any business. The quantity of electronic data is increasing rapidly and, as it becomes easier to move around, the risks of accidental or deliberate data leakage are ever greater. It is important to protect business data not just from hackers, but your own staff. For more on this, including managing access and “bring your own device” policies, see our report Secure Your Data – Protect Your Business by Business Beanstalk blogger Frank Jennings available from our Cloud & Data page .
- Investigate misconduct promptly
If you suspect that an employee is leaking data, or preparing to set up in competition with you, it is probably already happening. You need to be aware of your rights to monitor an employee’s activities, investigate, suspend or discipline them and ultimately terminate their employment.
- Think about your rights before the employee leaves
The law does protect employers in cases where, for example, an employee has stolen information, failed to comply with the terms of garden leave or breached contractual restrictions by dealing with or soliciting clients. Enforcing these rights can be a complex process, but the best time to think about enforcing them is before the employee leaves rather than afterwards.