Building a case
The first two causes claim that Apple is in breach of contract with Bucher, in that Apple did not accelerate the vesting of Buchers options, which lawyers claim should contractually take place in all terminations not for cause, and that Apple did not pay Bucher according to the 2005 executive bonus plan. The third cause states that Apple is in breach of good faith and fair dealing by back-dating Buchers dismissal to Dec. 31, 2004, invalidating his eligibility for the 2005 bonus plan.The fourth and fifth causes cite labor code, stating that companies cannot terminate an employee on the basis of real or perceived disability, including mental disabilities.Many of the quotes of Apple executives in the complaint present them as characterizing Bucher with general emotional malaise and, in particular, a manic-depressive personality. In January, Bucher filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, stating that Apple discriminated against him on this basis; the department issued a Right-to-Sure Notice to Bucher in response. The sixth and final cause claims that Apple is in violation of labor code, in that it failed and refused to pay Buchers final wages, including stock options, restricted stock and bonus. Click here to read more about Mac-centric news and rumor site Think Secret retaining a lawyer for its defense against a lawsuit by Apple. Most of these issues revolve around whether Buchers termination was "for cause," that is, for a legally viable reason. The complaint claims that Apple executives based their decision on the perceived state of Buchers mental health, which, in both Buchers employment contract and by law, is not a legal cause. The total value of restricted shares, options and back pay enumerated by the complaint could total more than $9 million. Apple representatives could not be reached for comment. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.