Imagine that you are the General Director of a company (the
Russian equivalent of an American CEO), and your information
security department finds out that an employee, who you have long
suspected of industrial espionage, has sent important confidential
information belonging to the company to his personal email address.
In that situation, what would you do? Would you (a) do nothing for
the moment and wait until you have more definite proof of
industrial espionage; (b) make the employee tell you why he sent
the information to his personal email address; or (c) dismiss the
employee? Clearly, you need to find out who the information is
being sent to and maintain your reputation for enforcing the
Finding out who your employee is sending the information to does
not mean that you are committing yourself to continuing to employ
him. Section 81 (6c) of the Russian Labor Code provides employers with
ways to deal with such a situation: the employer has the right to
dismiss the employee for disclosure of trade secrets. But you
should be aware that the employee may then go to court and seek
reinstatement. What is a court likely to do in such a case?
Everything depends on whether you can prove that the employee
has disclosed a trade secret. "Disclosed," in this
context, means that the employee has sent the secret to one of your
competitors. If you are unable to prove that the employee has
disclosed a trade secret, then the court will reinstate the
unsatisfactory employee. In such cases, the courts have failed to
adopt a consistent approach. Some courts have ruled that an
employee who has merely sent information containing trade secrets
to his personal email address cannot be said to have disclosed such
secrets unless there is proof that he also transferred them to a
third party. However, in another case, the court ruled that sending
information to one's personal email address can constitute
disclosure of the employer's trade secrets, and that the
employer is justified in dismissing such employees. In the latter
case, the court ruled that if the terms of the employee's
agreement with his email provider specify that the provider may
restrict access to information contained in emails in the account,
then sending confidential information to a personal email account
will constitute a disclosure of such information.
The takeaway point is this: if you're a business looking to
protect your trade secrets under Russian law, and your employee has
sent confidential information to his personal email account, you
can dismiss him, but you should be aware that a court may reinstate
him for the reasons described above.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
On 8 September 2016 (C-160/15), the CJEU ruled that the posting of a hyperlink to copyright-protected works located on another website does not constitute copyright infringement when the link poster does not seek financial gain.
The chapter on the UK summarises the IP court and litigation system in the UK, recent developments in relation to IP law and practice, the forms and availability of IP protection and trends and outlook in the IP sphere.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).