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Directors and employees have a duty not to use information improperly.
So, this includes using information for a personal or third-party advantage or to cause detriment to the company.
And this duty is in section 183 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
Also, similar to the other director duties, the duty not to use information improperly also applies to an agent acting on behalf of a director.
Below I will explain the duty using a real life example.
Now, if the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the regulator, brings an action for improper use of information, ASIC may consider criminal action for serious conduct that's dishonest, intentional or highly reckless.
So, similar to the other general director duties, a breach of section 183 can be a civil and criminal offence.
Below we'll go through a case where the employer took legal action after former employees made use of confidential information to setup a competing business.
Importantly, the employees in this case did not have a non-compete clause in their employment contracts and this did not stop the employer from taking legal action.
And, I won't keep you in suspense, we'll start with the case outcome.
The former employees had to return the profits from their wrong doing.
Next, let's go through the employee's use of the information.
Now, below are the allegations of improper use of information by Lifeplan employees Mr Woff and Mr Corby:
Directors and employees have a duty not to improperly use company information for personal gain, third-party gain or to the detriment of the company.
And if ASIC brings an action against a company, it may seek civil and criminal remedies.
The Lifeplan case gives us examples of improper use of information.
Do you have questions about using company information?