MANHASSET, N.Y. National Semiconductor Corp. has asked 35 employees recently laid off at its Arlington, Texas plant to return video iPods the company only recently gave to all its employees, according to a report on the website of the Star-Telegram.
National Semiconductor (Santa Clara, Calif.) announced June 12 it would give all of its 8,500 employees a 30-gigabyte video iPod, as a reward for the company's solid financial performance over the past year. However, National issued a lackluster forecast for the current quarter, making its decision seem rather curious.
According to the Star-Telegram report, 35 workers laid off at the Arlington plant last week were asked to either give back the iPods or pay "fair market value" for them, surprising some who thought the iPods were theirs to keep.
The report quoted a caller claiming to be one of the laid-off workers as saying, "Nothing was ever said about ever having to give it back. If I'd known it was company property, I never would have picked it up."
National Semiconductor manufactures analog chips used in portable devices including Apple's iPods.
A company spokesperson was quoted as saying, "They were not a gift." The spokesperson added she didn't know whether the company ever intended for the workers to keep the iPods.
When workers received their iPods one morning in June at the Arlington plant, two company spokesmen reportedly did not answer questions from a Star-Telegram reporter as to whether workers would be able to keep the iPods once they left the company.