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Singapore: JLT fails to stop ex-staff from joining rival

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Sep 2015

Global insurance broker, Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT), has failed in a legal bid to stop several former employees from joining a rival firm Howden Insurance Brokers.
   JLT had sought two interim court orders, pending a full trial to hear its suit against four senior former staff, Howden as well as employment agency Huntington Search Partners, which purportedly helped Howden hire the four staff, reported the Straits Times. In the suit, JLT is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy to injure, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
   The judge said the court orders were not justified, noting insufficient evidence on whether the former employees had misused confidential information or if there was a real risk of misuse in the new firm.
   Quoting a Hong Kong judgment, he said there was nothing wrong in a group of employees opting “in concert” to leave their employer for new pastures.
   JLT succeeded in getting two other interim court orders, which barred the employee defendants from disclosing confidential information belonging to Jardine and from luring other staff to leave it.
   The global broker, which operates in 39 countries and has more than 10,000 employees, had wanted to bar Howden from hiring the former employees until late October 2016. It alleged that in April last year, then-JLT Managing Director began discussions with Huntington, and the resignations of 17 employees followed. All joined rival firm Howden later.
   Howden said through its lawyer: “It has been, and it remains, Howden’s case that it had done nothing wrong in recruiting the 17 JLT employees. Howden is free to employ JLT employees who resign or have resigned to join Howden.”
 
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