The co-founder of Hyperloop Technologies recently slapped the company with a wrongful termination lawsuit alleging that he was not only wrongfully terminated, but that his character was defamed by the company. CTO Brogan BanBrogan, as well as other former employees, sued Hyperloop Technologies alleging that they were forced out because they spoke to investors in the company about cultural issues within the “futuristic firm.” Additionally, they allege that they were forced to enter into contracts that weren’t in the company’s best interests by venture capitalists, Shervin Pishevar and Joe Lonsdale.
The suit was filed in the Superior Court of California and included scathing details of Pishevar’s activities while BamBrogan was involved in the company. The documents even include a photo of Pishevar. The description of the photo provided by the plaintiffs indicate that Pishevar was approaching the plaintiff’s desk with a “noose coiled in his hand.” They allege the message was clear and that this moment was followed by another incident later in the same day when the company offered their final letter in response to the plaintiffs’ letter (a group of eleven Hyperloop One employees).
The company stated that they would make no “core” changes and that “three heads would roll.” This referred to three of the plaintiffs: Pendergast and Mulholland, who were fired, and BamBrogan who they planned to demote and force to take a leave of absence (they advised he would not be terminated as long as he promised to behave). If the group of eleven employees accepted the proposal, the company promised not to “pursue them to the ends of the earth.” Plaintiffs allege the company’s official response to their letter even threatened economic and legal warfare by “millionaires with extensive networks.”
BamBrogan states that his involvement in the company began with Hyperloop Technologies took on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s challenge to put together a super-fast transportation system. BamBrogan states that Pishevar felt it was a business opportunity and hired BamBrogam (previously employed by Musk’s SpaceX) to lead the company. He was offered 6% of the company’s shares. Pishevar retained 90% of the shares.
BamBrogan states that the relationship was difficult from the start, but culminated in improper business deals and the noose episode mentioned above. A meeting following the company’s official response occurred, but when it didn’t go well, BamBrogan and others were either fired or simply left the company on their own. BamBrogan sought a restraining order against Pishevar in response to the situation. Hyperloop Technologies indicated that they saw the suit as unfortunate and delusional – a cliché response to what they referred to as a failed coup.
If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, please get in touch with an experienced southern California employment law attorney as soon as possible so we can help you. The lawyers at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik are available to talk to you today.