Stardock Lawsuit Getting Ugly

HardOCP News

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Holy cow, this thing is like a soap opera for the gaming community. Tune in tomorrow for back-to-back episodes of "He touched me there" and "She deleted my data." :D

Now, you can argue that I was a jerk in how I responded to her. But it does not justify her getting pissed off, quitting without notice and using her network access to wipe out our marketing assets 3 weeks before the ship of the game forcing me and a few other key team members to scramble at the last second to deal with it.
 

4LC4PON3

DERP!
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He is so fucked. the email he sent her is idiotic and will ruin his future. His employees even stated that she did give him a weeks notice and not one employee heard about files or anything being missing.
 

SPARTAN VI

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So this lady supposedly used "her network access to wipe out" years of marketing assets. They don't run back-ups? If not, then I suppose she had time to run a cipher while she was at it?
 

Madoc

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Pretty much in agreement with LeninGHOLA. I feel sorry for the employees at his company, but this guy is scum and is in need of some Corrective Action. I just can't believe the woman was as restrained as she was; I thought that part was pretty amazing.
 

LeninGHOLA

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Pretty much in agreement with LeninGHOLA. I feel sorry for the employees at his company, but this guy is scum and is in need of some Corrective Action. I just can't believe the woman was as restrained as she was; I thought that part was pretty amazing.

Her email was very well worded, not some angry rant. She seemed calm. I'm no jury, but pattern of behaviour isn't adding up to malicious deletion of materials.
 

Sycraft

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Her email was very well worded, not some angry rant. She seemed calm. I'm no jury, but pattern of behaviour isn't adding up to malicious deletion of materials.

Well you never know, some people get vindictive. They don't fly off the handle, they stew and plot silently and then act for revenge.

I have no idea what is the reality behind this (this is the first I've ever heard of it) but I can buy the vindictive angle, given that I've known people like that. I can also buy the lawsuit being bullshit.
 

4saken

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And to think for a brief time a lot of us thought stardock was the epitome of what gamers wanted out of developers. Fuck that company now.
 

LeninGHOLA

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Well you never know, some people get vindictive. They don't fly off the handle, they stew and plot silently and then act for revenge.

I have no idea what is the reality behind this (this is the first I've ever heard of it) but I can buy the vindictive angle, given that I've known people like that. I can also buy the lawsuit being bullshit.

Sure, she definitely could have. It just seems like this is made up.
 

Sycraft

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Sure, she definitely could have. It just seems like this is made up.

Ya I dunno, and nobody but those involved really does. I went and looked over the motion to dismiss briefly (it is huge) and there is certainly some stuff in there to call in to question her story as well. A simple example would be the claim he sent her a sexually explicit video. Well for one it was on Youtube so no it wasn't since they don't do that but also he sent it to his wife as well, in the same e-mail. The implication was he sent it to her only as some kind of sexual advance, but it looks more like he sent it to people he thought would find it amusing.

I am slow to pass judgement because I've seen all kinds of stupid shit in the workplace. Both people who do things they shouldn't and people who try to manipulate things to their advantage.

One rather silly example was when we were doing our website redesign there was a page that needed a tall image. So the webmaster went and took a picture of one of the columns we have on the outside of our building. They are these grey half-cylinders. They look kinda silly (and serve no function purpose) but it made for a pretty good pic for the site.

So one of the ladies in the office who thought she should get to have a lot of input on the site and was getting ignored (only the web master and department head got to have any input, that is just how it goes) complained that the image was offensive because it "looked like a penis." Ummmm... no. The only relation it bore was they are both based on the same fundamental geometric shape, a cylinder. She was just using this as a method to get her way, and over something very silly. Worked too, the picture was changed.

Thus I won't pass any judgement until we see what a court says. I could see the truth being either way, or somewhere in between
 

eneq

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As usual its very hard to get an objective view on the matter from public comments like these, they all try to portrait themselves in a positive light as possible. To use a Dr. House rule... "They all lie..."

I lean more towards more questions than towards anything else at this time...

Q1: Why the sexual harassment law suite? Seems from the mails and documents that it was mostly verbal comments (at the most touching her hair) and she didnt seem to be specifically targeted.

Q2: How long time was it from when she decided to quit and to when she got a job? If she stayed on the job knowing he was a prick just because she couldnt get a job quick then its an informed decision.

Q3: No programmer is doing design/marketing stuff and I doubt it was years of research/material and also I highly doubt she as the only one with this material.

Weird stuff...

Q2:
 

skipsargent

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As usual its very hard to get an objective view on the matter from public comments like these, they all try to portrait themselves in a positive light as possible. To use a Dr. House rule... "They all lie..."

I lean more towards more questions than towards anything else at this time...

Q1: Why the sexual harassment law suite? Seems from the mails and documents that it was mostly verbal comments (at the most touching her hair) and she didnt seem to be specifically targeted.

Q2: How long time was it from when she decided to quit and to when she got a job? If she stayed on the job knowing he was a prick just because she couldnt get a job quick then its an informed decision.

Q3: No programmer is doing design/marketing stuff and I doubt it was years of research/material and also I highly doubt she as the only one with this material.

Weird stuff...

Q2:

Ok here is the thing with Q1, and you will learn this if you ever have to take any kind of corporate sexual harassment training, you don't have to be overtly targeted. An off color or explicit joke in the break room is good enough. That alone is grounds to get you fired or reprimanded in many corporate environments.

On Q2, the length of time is immaterial. Tolerating continued behavior until she finds new employment is in no way her giving consent to be continually harassed. That is just like saying an abused wife who stayed in the home until she found a safe way out in your words "made an informed decision". I know that is an extreme example but it is valid non the less.

On Q3, you are absolutely correct! I smell bullshit.
 

weebling1

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love his answer to one of her request:
"#3, however is not acceptable to me. I am an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing person and I'm not inclined to change my behavior. If this is a problem, you will need to find another job."

someone, please give me more rope!
 

LeninGHOLA

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love his answer to one of her request:
"#3, however is not acceptable to me. I am an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing person and I'm not inclined to change my behavior. If this is a problem, you will need to find another job."

someone, please give me more rope!

That's not damning. Not at all.
 

LonerVamp

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What did I learn on the Internet today? Well, if a video is posted on YouTube, then it's not offensive/vulgar/inappropriate or usable as a means for harassment.

Sweet!
 

LonerVamp

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Also: If some action is done just because it's the way you are, or how your personality is, it's ok. All smiles and shiny faces while I push out this pile of shit on your desk right in front of you. Sorry, it's just who I am! Teehee!
 

Magnus

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OK Steve, why do you keep treating Kotaku like a respectable news site?
 
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He's pretty much sealed his own fate with #3. If you hire someone to work for you and you openly admit that you are an "inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing person" and that you are "not inclined to change", then you are just begging to get raked over the coals in a lawsuit... ESPECIALLY if you are the owner of the company. (That excuses nothing - sure you may think yourself a mini-deity and can fire folks on a whim, but there are state and federal labor laws out there for a reason.)

He's pretty much F'ed.

.
 

c3141hf

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He's pretty much sealed his own fate with #3. If you hire someone to work for you and you openly admit that you are an "inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing person" and that you are "not inclined to change", then you are just begging to get raked over the coals in a lawsuit... ESPECIALLY if you are the owner of the company. (That excuses nothing - sure you may think yourself a mini-deity and can fire folks on a whim, but there are state and federal labor laws out there for a reason.)

He's pretty much F'ed.

.

Yes, let's use violence to control someone's right to free speech.

Touching her without her permission was wrong as that is a violation of her right to control her own body. If he did that, then a lawsuit is justified.

But you will never convince me that someone should be subject to violent action by the state simply because of something they said. He is right in that, if she does not like the content of his speech, she can chose to work somewhere else. Thanks to liberal pond-scum lawyers, we have become a society of the offended where everything that is said now puts one at risk of a lawsuit from some cretin with a juris doctor.
 

Seelenlos

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Yes, let's use violence to control someone's right to free speech.

Touching her without her permission was wrong as that is a violation of her right to control her own body. If he did that, then a lawsuit is justified.

But you will never convince me that someone should be subject to violent action by the state simply because of something they said. He is right in that, if she does not like the content of his speech, she can chose to work somewhere else. Thanks to liberal pond-scum lawyers, we have become a society of the offended where everything that is said now puts one at risk of a lawsuit from some cretin with a juris doctor.


Violent action? What?

Are you saying the things he is accused of doing are covered by free speech?
 

c3141hf

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Violent action? What?

Are you saying the things he is accused of doing are covered by free speech?

Anything that does not involve violence (defined as the initiation of force against person or property; for the purposes here, unwanted touching would constitute force), the threat of violence or fraud would be protected under free speech and the fact that the business is private property owned by private individuals.

Violent action is the initiation of force against person or property. Having the state forcibly take your property because someone disagreed with your words is violent action; refusing to hand over your property will result in them sending men with guns after you.
 

khaki

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Anything that does not involve violence (defined as the initiation of force against person or property; for the purposes here, unwanted touching would constitute force), the threat of violence or fraud would be protected under free speech and the fact that the business is private property owned by private individuals.

Violent action is the initiation of force against person or property. Having the state forcibly take your property because someone disagreed with your words is violent action; refusing to hand over your property will result in them sending men with guns after you.

The government isn't coming in with "men with guns" to arrest this man, he is being sued by a private citizen. Big difference.
 

c3141hf

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The government isn't coming in with "men with guns" to arrest this man, he is being sued by a private citizen. Big difference.

No there isn't a difference.

If you refuse to submit to the court, they send men with guns after you even though you've done nothing that warrants such action.

Contrary to popular belief, rights do not come from the state; they exist in nature. No gang of criminal thieves or their robed tyrants can change that.
 

poee

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And to think for a brief time a lot of us thought stardock was the epitome of what gamers wanted out of developers. Fuck that company now.

+1

Brad Wardell is a scumbag who will never get another dime from me.
 

LonerVamp

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Say what? There's violence in nature, including murder, assault, etc, if you really want to go down this road.

Not to mention I have no idea what you read in this thread that has you on this line of argument anyway. You kinda sound like someone who gets high and defends it when they get busted by thumping down this mantra of violence by the state to justify whatever you do and wit-fully (to the beholder anyway) turn the tables. Not saying you are like that, but that's what I envision with spurious arguments like this that sound good to stoned kids but don't really fly in the real world, despite how forcefully they're thrust into any discussion that remotely involves lawsuits or legal procedure.

I think you need to look closer at labor laws discrimination and the like. *shrug*
 

c3141hf

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Say what? There's violence in nature, including murder, assault, etc, if you really want to go down this road.

Not to mention I have no idea what you read in this thread that has you on this line of argument anyway. You kinda sound like someone who gets high and defends it when they get busted by thumping down this mantra of violence by the state to justify whatever you do and wit-fully (to the beholder anyway) turn the tables. Not saying you are like that, but that's what I envision with spurious arguments like this that sound good to stoned kids but don't really fly in the real world, despite how forcefully they're thrust into any discussion that remotely involves lawsuits or legal procedure.

I think you need to look closer at labor laws discrimination and the like. *shrug*

Labor laws cannot supersede the natural right to control who you do and don't associate with. Just because a gang of criminals with robes says something else doesn't make it true.

Americans claim that the country was founded on freedom but I beg to differ; one cannot claim to be truly free when someone can use the coercive force of the state to punish you for what you say or who you do and don't associate with.
 

poee

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Anything that does not involve violence (defined as the initiation of force against person or property; for the purposes here, unwanted touching would constitute force), the threat of violence or fraud would be protected under free speech and the fact that the business is private property owned by private individuals.

I think you need to retake the bar exam. Sexual harassment is not protected speech. Threating violence is not protected speech. Incitement is not protected speech. Conspiracy to commit a crime is not protected speech. Fraud is illegal, regardless of whatever rights you have to free speech. The government cannot censor you using prior restraint, but once you have committed fraud with your free speech, the 1st Amendment offers no protection against civil or (if applicable) criminal prosecution for fraud.

Labor laws cannot supersede the natural right to control who you do and don't associate with. Just because a gang of criminals with robes says something else doesn't make it true.

Okay, sorry for that crack about you needing to retake the bar. Clearly you have no legal background whatsoever.

Americans claim that the country was founded on freedom but I beg to differ; one cannot claim to be truly free when someone can use the coercive force of the state to punish you for what you say or who you do and don't associate with.

Ah, yes. Classic Libertarian doctrine. I went through my Ayn Rand & LP phase, too, up to about age 24. Fortunately, the vast majority of young people seduced by the simplistic reasoning of hard-line Libertarianism grow out of it after being exposed to the vagaries of life for a time. The Ivory Tower looks nice and is wonderful in its internal consistency. But the fact that is bears almost no resemblance to the actual world we all must live in typically decides the issue for all but the most obtuse and doctrinaire.
.
 
Joined
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Labor laws cannot supersede the natural right to control who you do and don't associate with. Just because a gang of criminals with robes says something else doesn't make it true.

Americans claim that the country was founded on freedom but I beg to differ; one cannot claim to be truly free when someone can use the coercive force of the state to punish you for what you say or who you do and don't associate with.

This is going off the deep end fast... This has nothing to do with association and everything to do with employee/employer relationship as entered into in a business relationship/contract, aka employment, which is regulated by labor laws.

Yes, you can choose your friends but when you employ someone, it's a different kind of association that involves rights and protections. An employee should have the right to freedom from harassment, verbal abuse, unwanted sexual advances, coercion, etc. An employer should respect that. It works both ways. You do not have the right to touch an employee if they don't want to be touched, make unwanted sexual advances, verbally or physically abuse them, etc.

Trying to couch this as taking away "freedom" and "natural rights" is pathetic. Go work in a third world country and experience the joys of being an employee with a boss who is enjoying his/her "freedoms" to do whatever they hell they want. Labor laws exist to protect employee and employer freedoms. Without them, we'd be in a pretty bad place.
 

toast0

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BTW: Here is the link to the sexually explicit video mentioned...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJNXCpfDrNo&feature=youtube_gdata

If I weren't watching this with intent to find offensive things, I would have gotten bored way before they mentioned squeeze jobs and boners. I'm not sure squeeze job is a mainstream enough phrase to really offend someone (if you know what it means, you probably aren't offended), but I think it's reasonable to expect and demand a workplace free of references to boners and camera work focusing on cleavage. (it's also fine to have a workplace full of cleavage and boners, if that's fine with everyone)

It would also be cool if the owner didn't send such retarded videos, wtf?
 

michael.pa2

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Clearly the CEO is way behind the times in the area of sexual harassment and just how low the tolerance level the law has for it these days. Not to mention he's a complete jerk who will quickly find his position is no protection against those laws.
 

Jagger100

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The comments about her being better for the public jobs are crude, but they are true and if she was offended, she needs a thicker skin. The rest is messed up.
 

staticlag

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1. The guy sounds like an abrasive annoying asshole. I personally would quit quickly after discovering this.

2. June 3rd 2007 though Aug, 3rd 2010 = 3 years.

Obviously the facts don't add up. Typically people desire a strong foundation in terms of a job. I find no reason for her to stick around that long unless she liked the work environment and wanted to consider this job her long term commitment. Proof in fact was that when she was told to find another job she had no trouble finding a replacement career. She could have done this at any time during this 3 year period.

3. Most Important: If he was consistently harassing her, why didn't she get audio, or video, or written proof?

She works at a game company, she is head of marketing. I fail to believe that she is too dumb to download a free recorder app on her phone and keep it on in her pocket to at least get some evidence of his offenses other than this childish he said, she said bullcrap.


=====================

Most likely scenario here is she just got pissed off at him for whatever reason and decided to stick it to him. She filed one complaint just trying to create some sad attempt at a prolonged backstory.
 

staticlag

[H]ard|Gawd
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You can judge a person by the friends they keep!!!

She kept this guy close for 3 whole years. I don't trust either of them a single inch!
 

Ididar

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If she really did delete marketing materials then why did he wait until the lawsuit started getting him in trouble before filing a lawsuit against her? That said, people who used to work there have come out and said that no marketing materials vanished and that the problems with the game were purely technical. The marketing materials seems to be a made-up accusation to distract from the sexual harassment lawsuit.
 

c3141hf

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This is going off the deep end fast... This has nothing to do with association and everything to do with employee/employer relationship as entered into in a business relationship/contract, aka employment, which is regulated by labor laws.

Yes, you can choose your friends but when you employ someone, it's a different kind of association that involves rights and protections. An employee should have the right to freedom from harassment, verbal abuse, unwanted sexual advances, coercion, etc. An employer should respect that. It works both ways. You do not have the right to touch an employee if they don't want to be touched, make unwanted sexual advances, verbally or physically abuse them, etc.

Trying to couch this as taking away "freedom" and "natural rights" is pathetic. Go work in a third world country and experience the joys of being an employee with a boss who is enjoying his/her "freedoms" to do whatever they hell they want. Labor laws exist to protect employee and employer freedoms. Without them, we'd be in a pretty bad place.

Where did I say he had the right to touch an employee? I specifically stated that touching, if it happened, was wrong because that is a violation of her right to control her own body and inappropriate touching constitutes an initiation of force.

My qualm is with the speech issues and the fact that the state deems itself to have the right to use force because people don't agree with someone's speech. If the allegations are true (and given her lawyer's reputation, I have my doubts), then what he did is despicable. But just because something is repugnant does not justify the use of force; there are peaceful non-violent ways to bring about change such as speaking out about the issue, protesting, and starting a boycott.

I think you need to retake the bar exam. Sexual harassment is not protected speech. Threating violence is not protected speech. Incitement is not protected speech. Conspiracy to commit a crime is not protected speech. Fraud is illegal, regardless of whatever rights you have to free speech. The government cannot censor you using prior restraint, but once you have committed fraud with your free speech, the 1st Amendment offers no protection against civil or (if applicable) criminal prosecution for fraud.

I never claimed that threatening violence was "protected" speech; in fact, I specifically stated that the threat of violence constitutes an act of force. I stated the same for fraud. I would point out, however, that in the case of fraud, it is not the contents of the speech but your actions as a whole that are illegal; one can announce that he or she is selling a product (that happens to be fraudulent) and so long as they don't enter into any transaction or take any money or property as a result of the lies, it would not be fraud.

Okay, sorry for that crack about you needing to retake the bar. Clearly you have no legal background whatsoever.

Knowing about the law and recognizing the authority of it are two different things. Simply because a group of people with lots of guns and soldiers writes something on a piece of paper and calls it a law does not make it moral or just.

Ah, yes. Classic Libertarian doctrine. I went through my Ayn Rand & LP phase, too, up to about age 24. Fortunately, the vast majority of young people seduced by the simplistic reasoning of hard-line Libertarianism grow out of it after being exposed to the vagaries of life for a time. The Ivory Tower looks nice and is wonderful in its internal consistency. But the fact that is bears almost no resemblance to the actual world we all must live in typically decides the issue for all but the most obtuse and doctrinaire.
.

Ayn Rand was not a libertarian. Please do not confuse objectivism with libertarianism/anarcho-capitalism because they are very different philosophies.
 

LeninGHOLA

Vladimir Hayt
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Ah, yes. Classic Libertarian doctrine. I went through my Ayn Rand & LP phase, too, up to about age 24. Fortunately, the vast majority of young people seduced by the simplistic reasoning of hard-line Libertarianism grow out of it after being exposed to the vagaries of life for a time. The Ivory Tower looks nice and is wonderful in its internal consistency. But the fact that is bears almost no resemblance to the actual world we all must live in typically decides the issue for all but the most obtuse and doctrinaire.
.

Ayn Rand wasn't a Libertarian. In fact, she despised them*. Objectivism and Libertarianism are at odd on a lot of topics.

*To be fair, she despised almost everyone since she was a rotten individual.
 

Cbshahji

[H]ard|Gawd
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the dude is jerk from the statement he wrote. should have said, "thank you for letting me know, i'll be careful around you and something like that come up tell me to stop: sexual harassment for touching hair. is just plain retard.
 
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