SiPort Shooting: No Layoffs, Killer Was Fired

24 Comments

Update: The reports of layoffs at SiPort, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that prompted killing of three executives are wrong, according to a statement issued by the company. Like me, everyone assumed that there were layoffs and that led to the shooting. Last week Silicon Valley was shocked by the shooting of three SiPort executive by alleged killer, Jing Hua Wu who is currently under arrest by the Santa Clara Police Department. Wu was terminated individually and not as part of a general layoff.

A spokesperson for one of SiPort’s investors Morgenthaler Ventures wrote to me in an email: “SiPort has never had a general layoff at the company and in fact, the company added to its staff in 2008. SiPort started shipping their HD Radio chips earlier this year and the customers seem to really like it. We were not laying people off.” The shooting killed CEO Sid Agrawal; Brian Pugh, VP of operations; and Marilyn Lewis, who was the human resources manager. SiPort Founder Aiman Kabakibo has taken over as the CEO.

Updated with new information from SiPort: SiPort has established a memorial fund for the victims of last Friday’s fatal shootings with the agreement of the bereaved families. Funds raised will go toward supporting charitable causes identified by the families of Sid Agrawal (CEO), Brian Pugh (vice president of operations) and Marilyn Lewis (human resources manager). Checks should be made out to Silicon Valley Community Foundation, noting “SiPort Memorial Fund” in the memo line and mailed to 3255 Scott Boulevard, Santa Clara, CA 95054. Contributions are tax deductible.

24 Comments

George

Listen up people ! The bottom line here is it doesn’t matter if it’s a layoff, or fired, there is no excuse for killing people no matter how arrogant management may behave. Sure I have wanted to kill some employers,who laid me off,or fired me, but I certainly new the difference between, right and wrong, life, and death. Obvioiusly the killer snapped, however that still does not excuse the fact he killed three people, which will affect his family, and the familys of the deceased for the rest of their lives.

lubna

Could you please stop making useless meaningless hurtful comments.
You are causing us so much pain.
Use your time and energy in something more useful.

lj

to “expert”:
in California, it is at will employment (he probably signed some paper upon being hired with those exact words), he can be terminated at will, for any reason or for no reason (these words would be on the paperwork too). this is a widely known fact… I don’t think he qualifies for unemployment insurance ($4xx/week), I don’t think he even got his 2 weeks’ notice or pay upon termination, this is required by law (I believe?), for termination without a cause… I would speculate that he is asking for the HR manager to discuss this, that is the point I am trying to make in my bloggings above.

expert

He would have qualified for unemployment insurance unless he voluntarily resigned or if the employer was able to show he was fired for theft which is hard to prove. Most likely, he would have gotten unemployment insurance.

lj

I am speculating with some common sense, I have no first hand knowledge of this case whatsoever: the news says Wu asked for HR Manager, that tells me this somehow has something to do with HR. he obviously walked back with intent to kill, I don’t see why he would ask for the HR manager (as a product test engineer, how much contact does he have with the HR manager)–unless he wants his old job back, then he really is insane…

Om Malik

@lj said

It is not clear whether you are speaking with first hand knowledge or just speculating. It seems you are speculating, but I want to do that so if you can you please elaborate.

It seems this shooter was fired. I have not seen or heard other so-called people who were laid off emerge and talk to the media.

@Jeff do you know why your friend was laid-off? Or was he/she fired.

lj

okay, nobody here knows what really happened, just more unsubstantiated rumors.

it is possible that this person was “terminated individually” (possibly with others who were also “terminated individually”) while there was a “general layoff” because the company simply had too many people already on the “general layoff” list, and wish to avoid having their unemployment insurance go up dramatically (which would happen when a certain percentage of a company gets laid off). and he was mad bec he wouldn’t qualify for the unemployment insurance and doesn’t look good on his resume. this may explain why he wanted to see the HR manager–if he were just mad with the technical management, he would have just asked for the CEO and the VP of Operations.

condolences to all involved.

tony

Startups in silicon valley work you to death, they never give you any inclination that you are not performing as per their expectations and they fire you, I wish they start doing business better give them warning, time to improve performance just like big companies, sometimes people may not perform same way for months on end. I am not justifying what Wu did was right, I am just trying to find what made somebody do this. He must be a normal employee like any of us. I heard from someone his wife was laid off ealier in the week(not sure if it is just a roumor) I have never seen companies letting previous employee back in unless company wanted them to come back.

Please, please start treating employees properly don’t drive them in to doing something like this. Not sure there is any way to avoid this completely but some steps can be taken I guess

Jeff

I personally know someone who was let go from siport the same week.

Maybe it was a coincidence that they both had bad performance?

Steve

I do not understand what “terminated individually” means in the statement. Employees can be either be laid-off or fired.

Laid-off employees usually get a severance package, and can apply for unemployment benefits from the state. Fired employees has no severance package, and cannot apply for unemployment benefits.

The wording smells fishy. No matter what, the shooting cannot be justified. My condolence goes to all the victims, the shooter’s family included. They may be the biggest losers.

Ngoc

employees are often thought of as expendible commodities by their employers. . .Wu’s life could’ve been in total shambles prior to being laid off…and fired took it to a whole new level. The employer could care less that they are really just toying with employee’s life and well-being and when they can just fire someone .. they need to be aware that there will be possible reliation. Cause and Effect. It’s just the world we live in to day that everyone feels they have a right to do anything they want..including gunning down the people that fired you. Everything is justifable. The good thing is Wu was caught. . but I bet you he’s let off “easy” due to temporary insanity.. .regardless if it was a premeditated shooting (which was brilliant. . call a meeting to those that fired you..). Wu will get off with a slap on the wrist (temp insanity) because our judicial systems simply does not work. Lawyers will prove that Wu never received poor performance ratings prior to being fired and maybe even prove that Wu’s firing was not justifiable. But who knows. . time will tell. Just one word of advise. .NEVER attend meetings on time .. show up LATE!

Mike

I agree – people are so blinded by greed that they will treat people like animals to preserve their bonus, their stock price, or save something totally meaningless like corporate earnings – relative to human lfe.

Keith

Sadder that the company would issue a release in that tone – never mind our colleagues, the company’s doing fine; please buy our HD radio chips.

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