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Thread: Stardock Sues Former Employee for $1,000,000 for Elemental's commercial failure

  1. #181
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  2. #182
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    So, let me get this straight.

    Stardock thinks if your boss sexually harasses you, it's ok if it is outside of working hours?

  3. #183
    Account closed Mad Chester
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    Kotaku has a long follow-up.
    This makes Clinton conduct look morally justified and ethical in comparison.

  4. #184
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    If there are actual emails, as reported by Kotaku, this case is SOOO going to be settled out of court now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Weinstein View Post
    So, let me get this straight.

    Stardock thinks if your boss sexually harasses you, it's ok if it is outside of working hours?
    I think this more the case of "I built it" going to someone's ... head.

  6. #186
    World's End Supernova Brian Rubin's Avatar
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    Holy shitsnacks.

  7. #187
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    Ok, I'm going to respond here since I'm being directly accused of something.

    The incident that started this happened back in 2010. Myself, Alexandra, and a few others were at a pub while waiting to go to the Qt3 dinner that Lloyd case had set up.

    While there, Alexandra got teased and got mad. At the time, i didn't realize she was so upset about it. So we went to the Qt3 get together (that some here may have even been at) and that.

    She later emailed me telling me she was mad about the incident - to which I apologized for hurting her feeligs but also insisted that I watch what jokes I tell around the office. (To understand the context, we're a relaxed software company, lots of Family guy jokes, Simpsons references, Robot Chicken references, etc.). To which I responded, admittedly, very very harshly to.

    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.

    In addition, I would ask those who are so quick to condemn me personally to ask themselves this - what impact do you think it would have on your team if a key person quit, wiped out a bunch of stuff and made a bunch of legal theats? Think of the effect it would have around the office.

    NO one has suggested that if she hadn't done this that Elemental would have been a great game. But there is a huge gulf between having a "great game" and a "total disaster". The ultimate blame for the game's failure lies with me for reasons I've stated countless times. But that doesn't excuse someone from maliciously and intentionally wiping out years worth of marketing data, assets, etc.

    And the charge that this is "retaliatory" is ridiculous and, frankly, offensive to not just me but virtually everyone here at Stardock - who I can assure you are at least as pissed off as I was about what she did.

    The only thing that has recently changed is that our case against her got moved to federal court and that we have continued our position of not settling her frivolous case.

  8. #188
    World's End Supernova Telefrog's Avatar
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    #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 need to find another job.
    Oh my God.

  9. #189
    Sentinels of the Multiverse fanboy Neo Acoustic jaygittings's Avatar
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    I suspect one innocent bystander of this whole mess is going to be Derrick (Kael right?) who did the fall from heaven mod. I loved all the work he's done and was hoping his first gig in the commercial games realm was going to be great (given fall from heaven, a safe bet).

    This certainly muddies the waters. Bleh.

    (Posted the above before I saw Brad's post...did not mean to derail).

    --Jay
    Last edited by jaygittings; 09-06-2012 at 10:44 AM. Reason: Clarification

  10. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post
    In addition, I would ask those who are so quick to condemn me personally to ask themselves this - what impact do you think it would have on your team if a key person quit, wiped out a bunch of stuff and made a bunch of legal theats? Think of the effect it would have around the office.
    For me, frankly, the two issues have to be held separately. I suspect that most condemning you here would have to do with the actions alleged in the harrassment suit. What ever actions Miseta took or didn't take afterwards does not excuse or affect the alleged behavior in any way.

    Personally? I'd never drop the word "hot" with respect to any subordinate at work. I certainly would never, ever have a reason to use the word "nipple".

    Being the boss doesn't give you more freedom to engage in this behavior- it gives you less. You're in a position of power over their work, not their personal life and that has serious consequences when you leverage work power into private power (intentionally or not).

  11. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post
    Ok, I'm going to respond here since I'm being directly accused of something.

    The incident that started this happened back in 2010. Myself, Alexandra, and a few others were at a pub while waiting to go to the Qt3 dinner that Lloyd case had set up.

    While there, Alexandra got teased and got mad. At the time, i didn't realize she was so upset about it. So we went to the Qt3 get together (that some here may have even been at) and that.

    She later emailed me telling me she was mad about the incident - to which I apologized for hurting her feeligs but also insisted that I watch what jokes I tell around the office. (To understand the context, we're a relaxed software company, lots of Family guy jokes, Simpsons references, Robot Chicken references, etc.). To which I responded, admittedly, very very harshly to.

    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.

    In addition, I would ask those who are so quick to condemn me personally to ask themselves this - what impact do you think it would have on your team if a key person quit, wiped out a bunch of stuff and made a bunch of legal theats? Think of the effect it would have around the office.

    NO one has suggested that if she hadn't done this that Elemental would have been a great game. But there is a huge gulf between having a "great game" and a "total disaster". The ultimate blame for the game's failure lies with me for reasons I've stated countless times. But that doesn't excuse someone from maliciously and intentionally wiping out years worth of marketing data, assets, etc.

    And the charge that this is "retaliatory" is ridiculous and, frankly, offensive to not just me but virtually everyone here at Stardock - who I can assure you are at least as pissed off as I was about what she did.

    The only thing that has recently changed is that our case against her got moved to federal court and that we have continued our position of not settling her frivolous case.
    Sources in the Kotaku article seem to refute some of your claims about not giving notice and not mentioning anything was missing. Regardless, none of that would justify the emails you sent.

  12. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stepsongrapes View Post
    For me, frankly, the two issues have to be held separately. I suspect that most condemning you here would have to do with the actions alleged in the harrassment suit. What ever actions Miseta took or didn't take afterwards does not excuse or affect the alleged behavior in any way.

    Personally? I'd never drop the word "hot" with respect to any subordinate at work. I certainly would never, ever have a reason to use the word "nipple".
    I never referred to her as "hot". Ever.

    You can see Joystiq's slightly more balanced article:

    http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/06/st...rketing-manag/

  13. #193
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    Heh, I had more fun with reading these last links than I ever had with Elemental, thanks to the respective posters.

    I can totally see some folks in my company acting similar ... when no women are around. It's ok to "be a man" amongst men, but you ought to dust off those manners when women are around, ESPECIALLY after being explicitely asked to. And doubly so if you're the boss - you'll set the example for your other employees. But maybe I have just weird standards, I'm from old europe, after all.
    _____
    rezaf

  14. #194
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    I'm not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job there, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).
    What the hell?

  15. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by rezaf View Post
    Heh, I had more fun with reading these last links than I ever had with Elemental, thanks to the respective posters.

    I can totally see some folks in my company acting similar ... when no women are around. It's ok to "be a man" amongst men, but you ought to dust off those manners when women are around, ESPECIALLY after being explicitely asked to. And doubly so if you're the boss - you'll set the example for your other employees. But maybe I have just weird standards, I'm from old europe, after all.
    _____
    rezaf
    This is all in the flings (that no one reads apparently) but on the trip in question, I was the only male present. The teasing incident included 4 people, 3 women, 1 male (me).

    People get mad all the time about things that are said to them online or in email. They get mad at their bosses for being jerks. That doesn't make it illegal and it doesn't make it okay to get mad, quit your job and wipe out the stuff on your drive on the way out.

    If anyone ever bothers to read the actual depositions and such, you'll find that not a single person present corroborates her allegations - even her friends who don't work at Stardock anymore.

    My mean email response is the beginning, middle, and end of the actual legal case and a course will have to decide whether it constitutes "sexual harassment".

    However, the evidence we have that she wiped her drive is irrefutable and well known. There's a reason she's almost universally loathed here now. It was a big deal.

  16. #196
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    Brad, anything you post here will make your lawsuits much harder, will damage your company and so on. You have to decide what is more important - your ego or your company.

    With that said...

    I am an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar and embarrassing person and I'm not inclined to change my behavior. If this is a problem, you need to find another job.
    This would be the problem for clear majority of people. When you are in position of power and authority you can't be buddy-buddy with someone due to power differential. Innocent jokes with your peers would be easily interpreted as "OMGWTF!" when repeated to your underlings. You absolutely have to modify your behavior if you want to effectively function in your current capacity and leadership role.

    TL;DR Don't try to befriend your underlings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post
    I never referred to her as "hot". Ever.

    You can see Joystiq's slightly more balanced article:

    http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/06/st...rketing-manag/
    I'm not sure I'd refer to their reposting of your press release as a 'slightly more balanced article'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell
    virtually everyone here at Stardock - who I can assure you are at least as pissed off as I was about what she did.
    Does 'virtually everyone' include the various persons who testified that you never mentioned any missing Elemental Materials in the weeks and months after Miseta's parting with the company?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post
    My mean email response is the beginning, middle, and end of the actual legal case and a course will have to decide whether it constitutes "sexual harassment".
    The fact that you just refer to the email as "mean" makes it feel pretty uncomfortably like you don't understand at all what is massively objectionable about it.

  19. #199
    World's End Supernova Brian Rubin's Avatar
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    Brad, should you be commenting here while these cases are ongoing?

  20. #200
    World's End Supernova stusser's Avatar
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    So this is pretty much what I guessed it was, a retaliatory response to an abusive work environment lawsuit. Call me NostradaHRose!

    My guess is Brad will be more careful about what he puts in writing from now on.

  21. #201
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    Right. And from a legal point of view, as far as I can tell, the email is really the whole case boiled down that a court will have to decide.

    The context of the email, however, matters. I shouldn't have written it when I was mad. I am sure I am not the only one who has ever written something when they're mad. I've written things on this forum when I was mad that I've regretted.

    So she sends me an email saying how I shouldn't tease her about her hair and her boyfriend and then demands I watch what I say around the office.

    Then she writes this line:
    With the above few behavioral changes, I’m hoping our previously friendly and professional relationship can be reestablished.
    This is on a Sunday after having worked an all nighter. And having run a business for a lot of years, getting this condescending email made me mad. Should I have just waited to respond? Obviously.

    Now, let's also include the part Kotaku left out of my response:

    I’m not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job there, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).

    While I certainly agree that your rights as a person (certainly in terms of physical contact or in terms of comments made towards you regarding your private life) take precedence over my rights as the owner of the business, that is as far as it goes.

    I sincerely apologize for offending you while on our trip. I certainly would never intentionally try to upset you or make you uncomfortable and will endeavor to avoid doing so in the future. However, I won’t change my basic personality to suit anyone (i.e. being an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar and embarrassing person).

  22. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad
    I'm not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job there, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).
    A real class act. If this was the 1950s.

  23. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post
    My mean email response is the beginning, middle, and end of the actual legal case and a course will have to decide whether it constitutes "sexual harassment".
    Good luck finding a court in the nation that doesn't think it constitutes sexual harassment. Maybe you can get the hearing moved to 1954.

  24. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post

    Now, let's also include the part Kotaku left out of my response:

    However, I won’t change my basic personality to suit anyone (i.e. being an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar and embarrassing person).
    And... that's part of the problem right there. You said, directly, in the e-mail that you're sexist. This isn't even putting words into your mouth. You've quoted it as a defense of yourself. I mean I'm not trying to play a "gotcha" game here, you flat-out admitted to being sexist and inappropriate and have said you refuse to try to change or control yourself.
    Last edited by ImpAtom; 09-06-2012 at 11:00 AM. Reason: clarification

  25. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rubin View Post
    Brad, should you be commenting here while these cases are ongoing?
    It doesn't really matter now. She's resorted to trying the case in the media. People don't do that if their case is going well.

    She's releasing this stuff in the hopes that people will just take her word for everything and follow sensational stories so that we'll pay her to go away.

  26. #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post
    I was the only male present. The teasing incident included 4 people, 3 women, 1 male (me).
    All the more reason to excercise a little good behaviour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post
    They get mad at their bosses for being jerks. That doesn't make it illegal and it doesn't make it okay to get mad, quit your job and wipe out the stuff on your drive on the way out.
    The last part I agree with, it's not ok to cause damage to the company in whichever way, but it IS totally ok in my book to get mad at your boss if he's acting like a jerk, and if you think that's necessary, it's also totally ok to quit your job. Actually, I consider myself at liberty to quit my job at any time for any reason whatsoever. Isn't that the case over the pond?

    Personally, I think the "sexual harassment" card is being played too often in general, but - again - after being explicitly warned, you'd better stay behind that fence, boss or not.
    And your responses weren't quite in a tone to encourage future employment anyway...
    _____
    rezaf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan_Theman View Post
    That's probably the smart thing to do, Alstein. A judge & jury are the best bets to figuring things like this out, and any conjecture based upon only one side of a story is not likely to be entirely accurate. I can understand Kotaku wanting to run with a story about a luminary in the field, but until some kind of resolution is reached it smacks a little of sensationalism.
    That's not going to stop anyone [edit: who would have already] from piling on.

    A $10 GoG game of your choice says this thread ends up locked within a week, though. :P

  28. #208
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    Your lawyers are going to kill you, Brad. Posting about this here is certainly going to come up in court. I know you want to defend yourself, but you gotta stay emotionally detached.

  29. #209
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    Just keep digging Brad. I'm sure publicly revealing and rationalizing that email will convince everyone.

  30. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Wardell View Post
    It doesn't really matter now. She's resorted to trying the case in the media. People don't do that if their case is going well.

    As you discuss it on a message board. Keep going Skippy!

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