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Canadian National Railway accuses ex-employee of espionage

According to a lawsuit filed by Canadian National Railway, an ex-employee shared confidential information with its rival Canadian Pacific. Canadian National claims the sharing of secret client information was an act of corporate espionage, CP used the data to steal business from the railway.

According to CN, its employee, Greg Shnerer, quit CN and was hired by CP. When he went to CP, he brought copies of customer contracts, business plans and pricing plans to CP. Canadian National further alleged that a manager from CP encouraged Shnerer to take the confidential data from its databases last June while he still worked for CN. The lawsuit further states that the employee’s current manager at CP is also a former employee of CN. The statement of claim filed by CN said that the employee collaborated with his current manager at CP to hurt CN through an unlawful scheme. These allegations have yet to be proven in court.

Canadian National is asking for $2 million in compensation relating to damages caused by the alleged corporate espionage. It is also asking for a court order to stop CP from using the confidential information to steal away its clients. A statement of defence is still pending from CP.

Canadian National and CP control the majority of Canadian rail freight traffic. As the two rail giants battle for customers while suffering under strict profit margins, the stakes can get very high. Any small advantage could mean massive financial losses for one or the other company; therefore, it is understandable that CN would seek legal action in this case, if corporate espionage has indeed occurred.

Source: Calgary Herald, “CN Rail accuses former employee of taking corporate secrets to CP,” Sep. 22, 2015

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