Water company granted injunction against former business manager

A water company has been granted an injunction against its former business development manager after he breached post-termination restrictive covenants in his employment contract. 

The case involved ATAC Solutions, which provides water and waste services to commercial and domestic customers, and its former manager Mr Crotty. 

Crotty had started working for ATAC in 2017. He was the principal contact for several important clients and was responsible for nurturing existing client relationships and cultivating new ones.  

ATAC terminated Crotty’s employment in February 2022 and placed him on garden leave for one month.  

During that time, the company became concerned that he was taking confidential information, which it suspected he would use for his own benefit or that of his future employer. 

It wrote to him to remind him of his contractual obligations, which included confidentiality obligations, a business protection agreement, and a prohibition on Crotty engaging in similar work for six months. 

ATAC said it would seek damages and an injunction if Crotty failed to delete confidential information in his phone and email account.  

Crotty said that he had deleted the confidential information and hadn’t contacted ATAC’s clients. 

However, ATAC wasn’t satisfied that he was fulfilling his contractual obligations and when he joined a new company, it applied for an injunction to ensure the obligations were met. 

Crotty argued that the clauses were unenforceable as they were disproportionate and amounted to an unreasonable restraint of trade.  

The High Court ruled in favour of ATAC. 

Crotty had failed to provide evidence that he had deleted the information he had taken. 

He had also initially agreed to honour the contractual covenants, so it was not appropriate for him to alter his position on the matter. 

The contract contained standard clauses and was not considered by the court to be unenforceable.  

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law. 

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