Employee jailed for breaching injunction
OCS Group UK Ltd v Dadi and others
Mr Dadi had been accused of breaches of the employment relationship. His employer said that, prior to transferring to a competitor under TUPE he had sent confidential documents and information to his personal email account and had conspired with an employee of the new employer to breach Mr Dadi’s duties to OCS.
Under the terms of an injunction that the employer obtained, Mr Dadi was not allowed to disclose or transmit certain confidential information. He was required to provide information about the confidential information he had disclosed to third parties. He had to preserve hard copy and electronic documents. And wasn’t to tell anyone, other than his legal advisors, about the injunction Order and the possibilities of proceedings being commenced. The Order warned Mr Dadi that he could be imprisoned if he breached it.
But breach it he did. Describing himself as having panicked, he did various things including deleting a large number of emails, and telling some people about the Order. Although the High Court took account of his subsequent co-operation with his employer, and of his remorse (among other factors), the judge concluded that a prison sentence of six weeks for contempt of court was necessary. It would mark the Court’s strong disapproval of his conduct and would act as a deterrent both in respect of his further compliance with court orders, and as a warning to others who might be tempted to flout orders as he had done.
Employees are not often imprisoned for matters stemming from their employment. But this case serves as a useful reminder of the seriousness of injunctions, and the advantage an employer can gain from using the injunction process.