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Jury Awards Engineer Damages in Employment Dispute

A jury in a federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, recently awarded an engineer nearly $2 million in an employment dispute against Seagate Technology, a global manufacturer of computer hard drives and storage solutions. The case focused centrally on alleged bad faith actions taken by Seagate concerning its treatment of the engineer, Chandramouli Vaidyanathan.

Vaidyanathan was working as an engineer for Texas Instruments in Dallas when Seagate offered him a position as a yield engineer in one of its Minnesota facilities in 2008, a job in which his main focus was to be on improving product engineering during the manufacturing stage of a special project in the company's Advanced Technology Group.

Vaidyanathan accepted the offer, and moved his family to St. Paul. Unfortunately, his job never materialized, and he was laid off nine months later.

His attorney argued, and the jury agreed, that the company misrepresented to Vaidyanathan that the project was further along in development than was really the case. Vaidyanathan's lawsuit argued that the company was seeking to sell the Advanced Technology Group or find a business partner when it hired Vaidyanathan, with his employment intended to make it appear as though the project was well organized and at a later stage of development than it really was.

Vaidyanathan stated that his reliance on Seagate and subsequent job loss ended his career as a yield engineer. He lauded the verdict.

"I work very hard at my profession," he said. "This is essentially justice being served in America; this is what I believed in when I took my oath to be a U.S. citizen."

Related Resource: www.computerworld.com "Jury orders Seagate to pay $1.9M to former employee" November 23, 2010

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