Lyft is suing its former COO Travis VanderZanden for allegedly downloading numerous non-public company documents to his personal Dropbox account before joining Lyft rival Uber. Among the information VanderZanden allegedly took was Lyft financials, confidential product plans, forecasts and growth data.
VanderZanden is far from the only employee to take confidential information with him on his way out. In fact, it is estimated that half of employees who left or lost jobs kept confidential data—40% plan to use it in their future jobs.
He is being accused of backing up a number of emails and confidential documents to his mobile phone and personal computer before returning his company computer as well as using a personal Dropbox account instead of one provided by the company.
Lyft and Uber are both ridesharing services that allow users to request rides from drivers who are signed up to work for the service. Users request rides through smartphone apps and are able to pay the driver a negotiated fee using cash, debit cards and/or credit cards.
Thus, VanderZanden’s departure from Lyft to Uber was already controversial before this alleged misuse of information. The lawsuit only furthers tensions between these two companies.
How Did Lyft See What Files VanderZanden Downloaded?
When VanderZanden handed back his company laptop, he likely did so without knowing Lyft has forensic analysis capabilities on all of its computers. As a result, Lyft was able to see all of the actions VanderZanden committed that were out of line. According to Lyft, the documents taken were a “significant number of Lyft’s most sensitive documents” and that there were as many as 98,000 artifacts on his personal DropBox account.
In a statement Lyft released on the matter they outline precisely their grounds for the lawsuit. “VanderZanden’s possession of Lyft confidential information post-employment breached his Confidentiality Agreement. That agreement bars him from possessing, post-employment, any Lyft confidential and proprietary information, and prohibits him from using or disclosing such information to anyone.”
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