Accused of violating whistleblower and age discrimination laws by its security director, Magic Leap has taken an internal situation to the US District Court to clear its name of the allegations.
Among the employee's accusations is that Magic Leap management acted against his recommendations to confiscate a shipment of Microsoft HoloLens received by the company in 2016.
According to court documents, the suit, originally reported by The Verge, was filed against Todd Keil, who is apparently is still employed at Magic Leap, in the Eastern District of Texas, since Keil resides in McKinney, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. Keil was hired in 2015 as senior director of global security; he left a post at the Department of Homeland Security in 2012.
Magic Leap alleges that Keil, suspecting that he was on the verge of being fired, accused his employer of retaliatory actions for his opposition to the company's alleged violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), US Export Regulations Act (EAR), and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). According to Magic Leap, Keil also accused his employer of illegal electronic monitoring and filed an age discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Magic Leap denies all of these allegations at length in its legal filing.
The accusations that are likely of particular interest to Next Reality readers are the DTSA allegations. According to the court filing, Keil had drafted a complaint, which he shared with Magic Leap, accusing the company of rejecting his recommendation that shipments of HoloLens devices delivered to the company's Florida offices be confiscated.
However, Magic Leap asserts that Keil was ordered by management to take possession of the devices, which were "lawfully obtained," and ship them back. Three devices were received, but only one was opened by Magic Leap employees.
"While certain Magic Leap employees did visually inspect and briefly use the one HoloLens device that was removed from its packaging, there was no effort at reverse engineering the product," reads the legal document.
Magic Leap is asking the court for a declaratory judgment that it did not violate the Florida Whistleblower Act or the Age Discrimination Act.
It's not the first time that Magic Leap has faced off with its own in court, settling with former executives accused of stealing trade secrets and employees who alleged sexual harassment against the company.
It's not a good look for a company that famously insists that anyone who touches its tech signs a non-disclosure agreement to avoid having any whiff of IP theft hanging around them. And employment law drama isn't helpful for a company looking to fill critical roles ahead of the launch of its flagship product.
But, it can't be a good day at the office for Keil, either.