UPDATE, SEPT. 9, 11:35 A.M.: Nad's
brand of hair-removal products founder Sue Ismiel, who is also CEO of corporate parent
Sue Ismiel & Daughters, Inc. (SI&D) of Australia, accuses her former president of U.S. operations in Garden Grove of falsely alleging he was fired due to his “whistle blowing” against the company and that he is spreading “meritless claims” about the way SI&D does business in his lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court:
The full statement Ismiel provided to the Weekly this morning follows after the jump . . .
response to legal action initiated by SI&D (US) Inc against its
former president, Robert Spetner, due to his wrongfully having seized
control of the Company's mail, Mr. Spetner has filed a
cross-complaint in which he groundlessly and falsely alleges that he
was terminated because he had engaged in “whistle blowing”
and presented other meritless claims against the Company. SI&D
categorically denies these allegations and will defend them
vigorously. In point of fact, the Company appropriately terminated him
due to poor performance and serious misconduct that directly benefitted
him at the expense of the Company and it is our intention to pursue
further legal action against Mr. Spetner in this regard.
substantive issues raised in Mr. Spetner's complaint are riddled with
factual errors and outright misrepresentations that stand in stark
contrast to our 14-year record of conducting an ethical and successful
business in the United States that is founded on providing our customers
and retail partners with great products and excellent service. Contrary
to the tenor of Mr Spetner's complaint, we are proud to endorse the
quality and efficacy of our award-winning range of Nad's depiliatory
products that are available at leading retailers throughout the US,
Great Britain and Australia/New Zealand.
this matter is currently the subject of litigation, we have been
advised by counsel to limit further public comment on this matter
pending its legal resolution.”
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 9, 7:32 A.M.: The former president of the Garden Grove-based U.S. operations for Nad's brand of hair-removal products has filed a whistleblower complaint in Orange County Superior Court alleging he was fired for trying to stop his Australian-based corporate owners from selling defective products.
Robert Spetner, who is seeking damages in excess of $500,000, accuses Sue Ismiel & Daughters, Inc. (SI&D) of wrongful termination, breach of contract, unpaid wages and violating the California Whistleblower Statute.
Spetner's former company stocks hair-removal gels and lotions for men and women
at WalMart, Target, CVS, RiteAid, Safeway,
K-Mart, Walgreen's and other major chains. In his complaint, Spetner
claims to have learned that overseas manufacturers shipped 300,000
defective units of the product to the States. He adds that when he
informed the SI&D corporate board of directors in Australia that
these batches must be recalled and its retailers and customers must be
informed about the compromised product, he was fired.
Court documents have Spetner giving the reason for this: his company was
supposedly “fearful that he would reveal honest information regarding
the defective product to federal and state consumer protection agencies,
in addition to prestigious retailers and consumers.” Those fears were
well founded as Spetner did just that, according to his Newport Beach attorney, Russell J. Thomas, Jr.
“This is a classic example of an employer retaliating against a
whistleblower,” says Thomas. “His employer, SI&D, was
willing to sacrifice a hard-working, successful operations president in
order to cover up its deceitful practices in the marketplace.”
The complaint claims Spetner was told retailers and customers would be
“better off” not knowing the purchased products were flawed. He would
have to, in effect, burn a loyal customer base he'd nurtured since being
hired in 2008, his complaint alleges. He accuses the company of
profiteering by failing to implement an expensive recall after
discovering faulty batches of the product in 2010 and again this year.
Legend has it that in 1992, Sue Ismiel created a natural, no-heat hair
removal product for her daughter using ingredients found in her kitchen.
By 1998, Nad´s Natural Hair Removal Gel had entered the U.S. market and
is now also marketed in the UK, New Zealand and the Middle East.
Today, CEO Sue Ismiel “is recognized as one of Australia´s most
successful entrepreneurs and dedicated philanthropists,” according to
the SI&D website.
” While the company, on its website proclaims that 'Nad´s continues to
uphold family values of honesty, integrity and commitment to providing
the best range of hair removal solutions for its customers,' Spetner's
complaint asserts the SI&D Board of Directors knew that it had
shipped hundreds of thousands of defective Nad's Body Hair Removal
Strips for over a year,” reads a press release from the Law Office of
Russell J. Thomas, Jr. “Nevertheless, even today, it appears the company
continues to withhold information regarding its defective product from
U.S. retailers and consumers, ignoring the risk of a class action
lawsuit by consumers who may believe they were deceived.”
The Weekly has reached out to SI&D officials for comment and will update this post should it come.