Protecting sensitive information and intellectual property, be it from malicious or disgruntled employee’s stealing data, or those unintentionally violating data use policies, should be a priority for all organisations. Disabling outdated user accounts when employees exit an organisation, implementing policies with privileged account passwords, updating them regularly and limiting access to corporate systems, are all crucial to keeping data secure. Though Edward Snowden’s work with the CIA and other US intelligence agencies put him in the position of a highly trusted employee, this trust provided him with everything he needed to accomplish what he set out to do. Threats can come from employees in the office, former disgruntled employees, contractors, or any other business associate that has authorised access to corporate data.
Companies can no longer shy away from the increasing number of employees working from home and on the move, from a myriad of devices, both personal and company managed.
With the flexibility of being able to work remotely from almost anywhere, businesses are required to trust their employees and rely on them taking the right precautions to keep sensitive information secure. As more and more employees work from increasingly disparate and varying locations, a key element of any security policy should seek to protect the data on those devices and state that only password protected USB devices should ever be used to store corporate data. If not, sensitive data can easily be stored and used at a later date, when a former employee might want to seek his, or her, revenge. An organisation and its management face employment related exposures continuously, as directors, officers and the employees they manage interact on a daily basis, working together to achieve a common goal. In not handled properly internal disputes can lead to a claim against an organisation or its management.
Directors and officers are responsible for ensuring that employees have access to a safe and culturally sensitive workplace, free of harassment and bullying.
Throw into the mix the trend that modern employees are becoming increasingly aware of their rights, and the ease in which they have access to legal advice, and you have an environment primed for confrontation.
Even with formal employment policies and procedures in place, employers often find that disgruntled staff will choose to litigate if they feel they have received unjust treatment. If a employee feels mistreated during any phase of their engagement, a claim can be bought by an individual, groups of employees engaging in class action, or by employment representatives such as trade unions. Under a stand-alone D&O policy, individual directors and officers are automatically covered for any employment related claims which are made *personally* against them.

Employment practices liability Insurance, also known as EPL, provides an organisation with protection if it is listed as defendant in an action, in addition to the directors and officers involved. The erosion of a policy’s limit can lead to exhaustion of the coverage intended for protecting the organisation’s executives, leaving their personal assets exposed.
A policy dedicated to protecting an organisation from EPL claims removes issues surrounding a shared limit of liability, thereby ensuring that that the coverage afforded to directors and officers is not compromised. Not all disgruntled former employees are so creative, but less flamboyant mischief can still cause serious damage.
Unhappy employees can often join competitors or start their own competing businesses regardless of whether a contract is implicated. Alternative Work Schedule, Electronic Workplace, Employee Engagement and Retention, Employee Morale, Employee Retention .
The first time we, as HR professionals, may hear about a disgruntled employee is when an ET1 pops up through your letter box.
Employees holding grudges perhaps due to increased workload, or insufficient pay, or those made redundant, is most certainly another.
If an ex-employee holds a grudge against an organisation, for example, given the time and the inclination, they could very easily compromise sensitive information if the access via personal devices is not restricted. Account passwords need to be updated, user accounts of former employees deleted, and access to VPNs and email systems revoked.
As a result, as claims are made against an organisation the coverage available to its directors and officers will gradually be eroded.
Others will steal an employer’s confidential information or equipment, destroy company property, talk coworkers into quitting with them, or engage in other forms of mischief. In 2010, an employee who lost his job at a Texas car dealership wreaked havoc on his former employer when he used an ex-coworker’s computer password to disable motors and set off horns remotely on more than 100 vehicles his old employer had sold.
When employees are going to a competitor, it’s important to guard against giving them a chance to do damage. A departing employee with a flash drive can make off with an astounding amount of confidential information, so Maslanka advises checking the computer of a departing employee who leaves unexpectedly or gives any signal of taking confidential information.

Employers can use noncompetition, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements to protect themselves from employees quitting to work for competitors, talking coworkers into leaving with them, and taking confidential information such as customer lists, but the protection may be limited. If an employee does go to a competitor in violation of a contract, the employer should be prompt about protecting itself, Maslanka says. Even emails between managers discussing the employee are disclosable to the Tribunal, no matter who it comes from or how long ago it was written. At a minimum, the employer should send a letter to the new employer explaining that the new hire has confidential information that shouldn’t be used in the employee’s new job. Researchers in Ireland highlighted a lesson for employers in their study of a theory coming out of professional soccer. The employer wouldn’t consider his request because it had policies that prevented an employee with his length of service from going to a higher pay level. Employers will, understandably, want to concentrate on their business rather than review the claim – but it won’t go away!
When the employee was turned down he left for another job, and the employer sued him and his new company. Tribunals also have power to fine employers who have conducted themselves unreasonably and can award a penalty of up to ?5000 if you’ve been telling stories.
When an employee works under noncompete, nonsolicitation, or nondisclosure agreements, employers may have recourse if the departing employee goes to a competitor or uses the previous employer’s confidential information.
In the case of the employee turned down for a raise, the former employer was able to settle, but the employee ended up staying at his new company and the old employer paid more in legal fees than the raise request.

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Business risk assessment


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