I applied to private company in Switzerland few years ago and I wasn't selected. No big deal.

Problem is that I recently found my cover letter online at some careers website. This was simply by making a google search of my old company. They just removed the header but left the letter intact, without my name and my signature. They didn't change a single word of anything else.

Are companies allowed to do this? How should I proceed?

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    Is is possible to identify you from the content? Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 14:28
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    Technically you still own copyright to the letter, but you don't own the letter itself - you could sue them for damages under copyright law, but as you would have to prove damages I wouldn't expect any payout to exceed your costs...
    – user34687
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 14:32
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    @bilbo_pingouin my former position as cited in the letter was a startup. If you look it up on linked in, you are going to find me without a sweat.
    – UmNyobe
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 14:41
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    have you covered the basics and tried to contact this company? A polite request for a takedown is sometimes met well.
    – John
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 14:52
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    In what context was the letter presented? Mindsumo appears to be a site where companies put up challenges that folks solve for a chance to win prize money and a shot at a job. It seems like there are two possibilities. Either the company you sent the letter to is using it for a challenge, or someone stole your cover letter and is misrepresenting themselves to participate in the challenges. It seems like the first step would be contacting Mindsumo to let them know that there's a problem and see what their response is. For the legal aspects, you might want to try asking at Law
    – ColleenV
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


Its obvious that you don't want this letter to be up from your tone and comments.

Before we go into legal hashmash (which is off topic here), lets explore some other options to get what you want (the letter removed).

Your first step would be to contact the company that put the letter up, if you can see who did it. Outline your concerns to them and politely ask them to take it down. If they don't react, or react negatively, you can go on to the second step.

The second step would be to contact the website, with the same polite request to take it down. If the website doesn't react or also reacts negatively, you can contact a lawyer and get legal advice. I strongly advise you that if you want to cite any laws (like mentioning that this is illegal in your correspondence with either website or company) that you get an actual lawyer to look into it first. Try the polite approach first, it very often works with minimal hassle.

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    @UmNyobe Polite approach is better. But ,when all sorts of polite approaches fails, as suggested by, you can reach out legally to a lawyer about this. But make sure you have the application and coverletter in your inbox that you posted to that company few years before which will be the only proof to prove that the cover letter content belongs to you.
    – Akansha
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 20:57

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