Man Sued for Deleting Files Off Company Laptop

This article concerns me greatly.

Apparently a man decides to leave his company. He deletes personal files off his company laptop. He knows, like everyone should (right?), that deleting files in most operating systems does not actually delete the file. It only removes the pointer to that file. So he uses a professional file scrubber to permanently delete the files making them impossible to recover.

I guess he must have left the company on bad terms (the company alleges he went into business for himself in the same industry which is a violation of employment contracts) because the company searches his laptop for incriminating files proving he was violating his employment agreement. When they discover that he used a file scrubber, they sue him for damaging a company owned laptop. What concerns me is several courts upheld the fact that deleting data off a hard drive constitutes “damaging” a computer. The company also said that the moment he decided to leave the company he no longer had implicit authority to delete data off the laptop. While I might agree with the latter, I have a serious problem with the former.

I worked as an IS consultant for over 8 years. I had a company laptop the entire time. I was careful not to put anything on it that would get me in trouble later, but I do not agree with the fact that deleting data on the hard drive constitutes damage to that computer. He turned the laptop into the company in the same condition that he received it, there should be no case against him. That is ridiculous. Hell hath no fury like a company scorned, I guess……………….

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