Employee ordered to pay Employer over $100,000

Posted by Madeleine on 17 February 2016

A man has been ordered to pay his former employer $110,058 after he set up a rival company and attracted a former customer away.

The employee was ordered to pay the $70,736 damages to the employer and around $10,000 for the time and equipment used to investigate the stolen information. He was penalised $18,000 for breaching his employment agreement and implied obligations as an employee.

The employee was employed by a company that provides high voltage testing and calibration services, until he resigned and helped to set up a rival company.

The employer went to the Employment Relations Authority claiming the employee had breached his employment agreement and implied duties.

The Authority found the employee had used a USB drive to steal the employers customer database, pricing and secret information, breaking the confidential clause in his employment agreement.

The Authority found the employee broke an agreement not to solicit clients in six months after his resignation and convinced a client to leave the employer and use the new rival company instead. 

The Authority was critical of the employee in the findings, saying he posted a derogatory statement about the employer on social media site LinkedIn and obstructed the ERA's process by failing to produce the USB used to collect the confidential information, and producing a reformatted USB disk. He was penalised $10,000 for obstructing the ERA process.