Sterling Anderson is accused of violating his employment contract for a new startup named Aurora, with help from the former head of Google's self-driving car project.
Tesla Motors has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the former manager of its Autopilot program, Sterling Anderson.
The company accuses Anderson of offering employment to a dozen fellow engineers for a new startup he founded while still allegedly working at Tesla, violating non-solicitation terms in his employment contract, according to details of the lawsuit cited by The Verge.
The filing is also said to claim Anderson took hundreds of gigabytes of proprietary and confidential data, which Tesla considers its "most competitively sensitive information."
Tesla claims the violations involved Chris Urmson, the former head of Google's self-driving car project, who allegedly worked with Anderson to form the separate startup, known as Aurora Innovation.
"In their zeal to play catch-up, traditional automakers have created a get-rich-quick environment," the filing says. "Small teams of programmers with little more than demoware have been bought for as much as a billion dollars ... Anderson and his business partners, including Christopher Urmson, the recently departed head of Google's self-driving car initiative, decided to take a run at a similar fortune."
Tesla claims it is typically supportive of its employees' desire to pursue other opportunities or create startups of their own, however the company considers Anderson's alleged actions to be worthy of a legal showdown.
"Tesla cannon sit idly by when an employee liek Anderson abuses his position of trust and orchestrates a scheme to deliberately and repeatedly violate his non-solicit agreement, hide evidence, and take the company's confidential and proprietary information for use in a competing venture," the filing adds.
The lawsuit names Anderson, Urmson and Aurora Innovation as defendants in the case.