SAN FRANCISCO A former employee has accused Eastman Kodak Co. of illegally tampering with the quality of customers' digital photos and making false advertising claims, according to a statement issued Wednesday (March 29) by the former employee's attorney.
Maya Raber, former Kodak director of engineering, filed a lawsuit in Alameda County (Calif.) Superior Court Tuesday, alleging wrongful termination by the Kodak Imaging Network and parent company Kodak. The suit claims that Raber was fired in retaliation for complaining about a Kodak project that Raber alleges deceives customers and irreversibly damages customers' photo files.
"Kodak disregarded consumers' interests in its efforts to save money," Raber said through the statement. "The plan was to hide behind the trusted Kodak brand, instead of promoting and protecting it."
A Kodak spokesperson said Wednesday that Raber's allegations are "completely false."
Raber, who oversaw Kodak's site software development department since 2002, claims that she and others objected to a cost savings plan, saying it would irreversibly damage photos, and offered the company alternative ideas to save money. Kodak chose to implement the project above these objections, Raber claims.
"Perhaps the most shocking thing about the project was the Kodak communication plan, leading customers to believe their photos are being optimized, when in fact they were being irreversibly damaged," Raber said through the statement.
Raber's complaint alleges that Kodak intended to market the unspecified project to make customers believe that they were getting a better photo format and service, when in reality their photos were being damaged. The complaint alleges that a Kodak executive responded to complaints about the project by saying that customers "wouldn't understand, anyway."
According to Raber, she was terminated when it became clear that she would continue to oppose the project.
"We can assure you that Ms. Raber's accusations are completely false," said a spokesperson for Kodak Wednesday through a statement. "We have not compressed images that are stored in the Gallery without our customers' knowledge. "We feel that Kodak has acted in a manner that is consistent with our corporate policies and ethics, and we will vigorously defend ourselves against all claims to the contrary."
The Kodak statment said the company could not discuss specifics pertaining to personnel issues.