Former Exec Sues Apple over Termination

Tim Bucher, a former vice president, claims that his termination was in part predicated on his mental state and that Apple is in violation of the labor code.

Lawyers for Tim Bucher, a former vice president at Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer Inc., have filed a complaint for damages against the computer maker in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California.

The complaint details five causes of action regarding Buchers dismissal from the company and asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

Bucher was hired by Apple in early 2003 as its vice president of Macintosh Systems Development, where in addition to his salary, Bucher received bonuses and options of 250,000 shares of Apple common stock.

One-quarter of Buchers options were to vest on April 1, 2004, with 6.25 percent of the original amount vesting every three months until April 1, 2007.

Also, a new executive bonus plan made Bucher eligible for more bonus payments on a quarterly basis, and in February 2004, Apple granted Bucher the option to buy an additional 75,000 shares at a reduced price, with a vesting plan through 2008.

In May 2004, Bucher assumed the duties of heading up Apples Macintosh Hardware Engineering department. He retained his previous position while leading a search for his replacement.

As Bucher moved to new position, Apple awarded him 100,000 restricted shares of company stock and later, a raise, along with enrollment in the 2005 executive bonus plan.

However, according to the complaint, Apple executives, including company CEO Steve Jobs, began talking to Bucher in November 2004 about Buchers employment status.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Apple facing a class-action lawsuit for alleged unlawful business practices, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.

The complaint states that Jobs and others complemented Buchers work, yet told him "a change is coming."

The complaint states that Bucher was told on Nov. 14, 2004, that his employment would be terminated if he did not resign, and that Bucher received a termination notice from the company on Jan. 4, 2005.

Throughout the complaint, various Apple executives are quoted as telling Bucher that he should seek psychological counseling, with the implication that his termination was, in part, predicated on his mental state.

This is the basis on which the complaint builds its case for six causes of action.

Next Page: Building a case.