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(photo credit: Courtesy)
Gil Rosenfeld, the ousted HP Israel General Manager, on Monday submitted a petition to the Tel Aviv District Labor Court for a restraining order to prevent the company from terminating his employment until receipt of evidence that supports allegations over gray-market exports.
"Once again during the so-called hearing HP refused to present any of their findings of the investigation. Instead they made allegations, which make me personally responsible for involvement in gray exports activities", Rosenfeld, who has worked at HP for 17 years, told The Jerusalem Post. "HP, however, has now retracted from the allegation of personal involvement to making me administratively responsible.".
Following a hearing on Sunday with HP Europe representatives, Rosenfeld and 13 other HP Israel executives involved in alleged irregular sales, were to receive dismissal notices at a meeting scheduled for Monday. The meeting, however, was postponed indefinitely. HP Israel declined to comment on the potential dismissal plans.
"HP has determined that gray market activities were taking place at HP Israel and is currently conducting an extensive internal investigation. Gray market activities are not unlawful but they violate HP's own policies and its Standards of Business Conduct. HP has made no decisions as of yet," the company said in its first statement on the affair Monday.
Although HP noted that regardless of the outcome, the company would remain "fully committed to the IT market in Israel," HP Israel declined to comment on whether management, including Rosenfeld, would continue day-to-day operations until HP comes to a decision.
The Post has learned, however, that Rosenfeld was "kindly requested" to refrain from coming to work.
The petition requests the release of the HP investigation findings for the basic right of the accused to defend himself before irrevocable dismissal actions are taken. The petition states that the root cause of the allegations is believed to be based on charges that HP Israel had sold products designated for the Israeli market to other countries at cheaper prices, a process known as "gray market."
In response, Rosenfeld admits that gray market irregularities were found but only at the time when he took up his position as General Manager in 2004 and that they were then addressed.
According to the petition, a HP delegation from the US and Europe arrived in Israel in February, without prior notice, for an internal investigation that lasted five weeks. Rosenfeld was denied involvement in the investigation. On the basis of the investigation, dismissal letters were sent to Rosenfeld and 13 other executives last Thursday
"As you are aware, during the past weeks an internal investigation by the Corporate Global SBC Team has been conducted regarding alleged gray market activities of HP in Israel. In the framework of the aforementioned investigation, findings have arisen regarding your personal involvement in the investigated activities, which damaged HP worldwide. In light of such findings, Hewlett-Packard is considering the termination of your employment with the company," stated the letter sent to Rosenfeld by HP Europe representative Jan Zadak.
Rosenfeld's petition claims, the dismissal notices sent to HP Israel's senior management and the reputation damage caused constitute a gross violation of US, European and Israeli law, and expose HP to a huge lawsuit by the company's management, headed by the General Manager. The Labor Court began debating the case Monday night.