Corporate Secrets Trump Privacy Claim

Sometimes it most certainly makes sense to double-check that email address before clicking the Send button. Tsur Yahav, a VP at the Rosh Ha'ayin-based computing services company One1, learned that lesson the hard way, in Tel Aviv Labor Court last week.

A judge ruled that his employer's search of Yahav's personal computer, prompted by a wayward message to a prospective new employer, was legitimate and did not constitute a violation of Yahav's privacy.

The email contained such goodies as client names and details of One1's business transactions.

In June, Yahav announced that he planned to leave One1. A few days later a company executive received the email that was intended for the CEO of Yahav's prospective new employer, a rival to One1. Oops.

In short order Yahav was ordered to turn in his computer as well as the cell phone he used at work. He left the office, saying the computer was not with him. He returned three hours later, after consulting with a lawyer and his future employers, as well as deleting certain files from the computer, and handed the phone and computer to a guard at the reception desk.

After retrieving files from the devices, One1 filed a lawsuit against Yahav and the rival company and requested a court order prohibiting Yahav from working for another firm and from making use of confidential information from One1.

The court ruled that the information in Yahav's possession belongs to One1, and that he must wait six months before being hired by his former employer's competitor.