Ex-Apple boss: ‘Waddling’ complaint tainted job move

A senior manager at computer giant Apple told an employment tribunal he was haunted by a complaint that he had “waddled his butt” in front of US employees.

Ex-Apple boss: ‘Waddling’ complaint tainted  job move

Will Reeves, 48, said the accusation tainted his planned move to take up a role where Apple was investing €400,000 to create at its HQ in California.

Mr Reeves, a former Cork-based Apple project management officer, gave evidence for the first time on day four of an employment appeals tribunal.

“I was absolutely stunned,” Mr Reeves said.

“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 over €140,000 when his role at Apple in Cork was transferred to Cupertino, California. He initially travelled to the US in Aug 2010 on a ‘scouting mission’ to look at houses and schools.

During the trip, Mr Reeves met a member of his five-person global team who later made the “waddling” allegation. The team was interviewed by an internal group within Apple in the wake of the accusation and Mr Reeves was told by a US-based HR manager he had “nothing to worry about” in relation to the complaint.

“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.

Apple’s legal team argued 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,” said Tom Mallin SC. “This one job was sent offshore. Thankfully, in Apple’s case, a whole lot more jobs come onshore than go offshore.”

Arguing his case for unfair dismissal, Mr Reeves said he felt Mr Verner did not believe he was innocent of the “waddling” allegation.

“My view is that obviously certain people didn’t want me working with Apple any more,” said Mr Reeves. “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 his termination in Dec 2010.

Cathy Maguire, BL, claimed the financial losses to Mr Reeves amount to €189,000 for the 17-month period he was unemployed following his dismissal. Ms Maguire claimed her client also had company stock options valued at €500,000.

Mr Reeves took up a new role outside of Apple in May 2012, earning €110,000 gross annual.

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