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O.C. Recruiter Sues Hyundai Electronics

Court: Lawsuit alleges that company demanded kickbacks, discriminated against blacks and women.

May 13, 1997|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — An Orange County corporate recruiter specializing in placing executives in the semiconductor industry has sued Hyundai Electronics America Inc., a subsidiary and several of its executives, accusing them of demanding kickbacks and violating applicants' civil rights.

Jeff Abraham, owner of Technical Resources executive recruiting agency in Huntington Beach, says in his suit that San Jose-based Hyundai Electronics tried to drive him out of business after he complained last year about alleged kickback demands and other unethical practices, including racial and gender discrimination.

Attorneys at Hyundai Electronics said they could not comment on the case because they have not reviewed it. A spokeswoman said the company's legal counsel rejected an attempt Monday by Abraham's to serve Hyundai with notice of the suit. Abraham said he's been advised by his attorneys not to comment on the case.

His suit, filed Thursday in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, alleges that Hyundai Electronics officials contacted him last year when the high-tech company's subsidiary, Hyundai Semiconductor America Inc., was building a new manufacturing plant in Oregon. He said he was asked to serve as an outside agent recruiting managers for the new facility.

The suit alleges that after Abraham and Hyundai entered into an oral agreement, the Oregon-based human relations manager of Hyundai Semiconductor told him not to send resumes from "black or women candidates." The manager, the suit alleges, said "the Koreans had told him that they would hire as few as possible."

Hyundai Electronics is a subsidiary of Korean industrial conglomerate Hyundai Group.

At one point, the same manager demanded an $8,000 kickback to keep doing business with Technical Resources, the suit alleges.

After Abraham complained to the human relations director's boss, the suit alleges, the recruiter was told that Hyundai Semiconductor would no longer interview applicants provided by Technical Resources.

Hyundai Semiconductor officials, the suit alleges, also began a "campaign of defamation" against Technical Resources.

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

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