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Yahoo Sues Former Employee Over Alleged Leaks to Book Author

The suit accuses a former senior director of leaking internal meeting transcripts to Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson.

Yahoo has sued a former employee, accusing her of leaking confidential information to a journalist that wound up being used in a book about the company and its CEO Marissa Mayer.

As first reported by Bloomberg, Yahoo claims in the lawsuit that Cecile Lal, a former senior director at the company, leaked transcripts of question-and-answer sessions with employees, known internally as FYI meetings, to Nicholas Carlson, a writer for Business Insider. Transcripts of the sessions were available to employees on a password-protected internal site called “Backyard.”

Carlson this year published “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo,” an account of Yahoo during the years that Mayer has been CEO.

Yahoo says in its complaint, filed in the California State Superior Court in San Jose — and which you can read here — that Lal engaged in a “flagrant pattern of misusing Yahoo confidential information,” during a period running from April to September of 2014. It also claims that she gave Carlson access to the Backyard site.

Content from the FYI meetings appear in six sections of the book, including a detailed description of the first such meeting from July of 2012. Another notable FYI meeting mentioned in the complaint dealt with Yahoo’s controversial policy that effectively banned employees from working at home.

Lal, who left Yahoo last September, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Yahoo also didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Carlson said via a direct message on Twitter that he’d been advised not to comment on the suit.

He did make a brief reference to it on Twitter:

Carlson wrote in an afterword to his book that he initially sought the cooperation both of Mayer and of Yahoo, only to be told that the company would not participate, even for the purposes of checking facts. Wrote Carlson: “Not only did Yahoo PR and Mayer not participate, each told Yahoo employees, former Yahoo employees, personal friends, former colleagues, current colleagues and admirers not to speak with me for the book.”

He used a number of anonymous sources, withholding the names of some sources willing to go on the record in their comments because, “I did not want to allow the process of elimination to identify others.”

This article originally appeared on

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