A software engineer who left a one-star review and criticised a fintech startup company on various platforms online has now been sued by the company for $1 million. The software engineer, Wyatt Troia, who now works for Microsoft, was still working for the startup LoanStreet when he called out the company on various platforms, the lawsuit against him noted. He criticised the startup on platforms including GlassDoor, Reddit, and the anonymous online forum Blind. Loanstreet has noted that the claims made by Troia are false and has sued him for defamation.
"The founders are not skilled nor experienced leaders, with a bias towards pettiness and cowardice," Troia wrote on Glassdoor in April 2020. He was fired shortly after that, the lawsuit says. Troia returned to Glassdoor a year later, criticising LoanStreet calling it "a fraudulent, exploitative mess," Business Insider reported. "Stay far, far away unless you're truly desperate. LoanStreet is a raging dumpster fire and you will get burned like many before," he wrote on Glassdoor.
Troia noted that he was promised stock options worth $100,000 when he was hired and the company had noted that it would begin vesting after a year but did not get the terms in writing. Troia noted that he later learned that it would take 16 months for the options to get vested. He further alleged that he was fired before any of his options were vested for finding faults in another engineer's code. "If it was just a good-faith mistake, they could have done the right thing and granted me the options I earned. They chose not to," Troia shared on Reddit.
LoanStreet CEO, Ian Lampl, sued Troia on July 19, saying that his online allegations were false and malicious. The company also accused Troia of buying Google Ads that drew attention to his negative reviews for anyone who searched for LoanStreet, Business Insider reported.
LoanStreet hit back at Troia's accusations, noting that he was fired for "the poor quality of his engineering, his lack of engagement with his team, and his inability to cooperate with his peers or take direction from his superiors." The startup also alleged that Troaia misstated the terms of his grant and sent out a company-wide email on his last day that sounded similar to the posts he later made.
LoanStreet has termed the posts an unabashed online smear campaign. The company further noted that Troia's posts threaten to destroy the livelihoods of LoanStreet's over-50 employees. LoanStreet also noted that Troia embedded links to the company's executives' LinkedIn profiles and said that one company leader called him a "scum of the earth" and other derogatory terms. Troia named several executives at the company, including Ian Lampl, the company's chief executive officer, and Christopher Wu, co-founder, who he called "spineless sycophants."
Troia also received criticism from anonymous posts on Glassdoor which stated that he was being "spiteful and vindictive". Some posts also alleged that he forced people to post fake reviews of the company. Meanwhile, Troia has started raising funds for his legal defense on GoFundMe asserting that his allegations were true. So far he has raised nearly $5000 according to reports. "If you're reading this, please don't be fooled by the Series B funding or the impressive pedigrees of the leaders; this place is a fraudulent, exploitative mess and you have a good chance of being fired within a year," Troia wrote on Reddit.
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