Apple manager says job transfer to US tainted by 'butt' complaint
Published 27/09/2013 | 05:00
A SENIOR manager at computer giant Apple said he was haunted by a complaint that he had "waddled his butt" in front of US employees.
Will Reeves (48) said the accusation tainted his planned move to take up a role with the company in the US.
It is understood Apple was investing €400,000 to create his new position at its Californian headquarters.
Mr Reeves, a former Cork-based Apple project management officer, gave evidence for the first time yesterday on day four of a resumed employment appeals tribunal.
"I was absolutely stunned," he said of the complaint against him.
"I felt this was a stain on the starting-off of my new life in the US.
"I'd been accused of something and felt I could not defend myself."
Mr Reeves, a father of five and a "competent, respected, hardworking employee", was receiving a salary with perks and bonuses worth more than €140,000 when his role at Apple in Cork was transferred to Cupertino in California.
He initially travelled to the US in August 2010 on a "scouting mission" to look at houses and check out schools.
During the trip, he reprimanded a member of his five-person global team, who later made the "waddling" allegation against him.
The team was interviewed by an internal Apple group in the wake of the accusation, and Mr Reeves was told by a US-based HR manager that he had "nothing to worry about" in relation to the complaint, the tribunal heard.
"At the end of August I spoke to James (Verner, Apple's global planning director) to advise him that the accusation had tainted the move," Mr Reeves said.
However, Apple's legal team argued that Mr Reeves had built his case on retrospect and the main issue at stake was that his job in Cork became redundant.
"His job was gone and he didn't want to go to the States for whatever reason. This one job was sent off-shore. Thankfully, in Apple's case, a whole lot more jobs come on-shore than go off-shore," said Tom Mallin SC.
Arguing his case for unfair dismissal, Mr Reeves said he felt Mr Verner did not believe he was innocent of the allegations made in California.
"My view is that obviously certain people didn't want me working with Apple any more," he said.
"I would say James Verner was a significant contributor to the ending of my career with Apple. I had no problem with having to move if I had to. I was flexible."
Mr Reeves received a termination letter in December 2010.
Cathy Maguire BL claimed the financial losses to Mr Reeves amounts to €189,000 for the 17-month period he was unemployed following his dismissal.
She said her client also had company stock options valued at €500,000.
Mr Reeves took up a new role outside of Apple in May last year, earning €110,000.
A decision is expected in the coming weeks.