Here's Your Pink Slip. Now, Gimme that iPod.

Indian givers.

National Semiconductor giveth, and it taketh away.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company gained loads of publicity last month for announcing plans to give every employee a 30-gigabyte video iPod.

Last week, the company laid off 35 employees at its Arlington plant. To the surprise of some at the plant, the laid-off workers were asked to give back their high-tech toys.

A person who called the Star-Telegram claiming to have been one of the 35 laid-off workers said many employees at the Arlington plant were under the impression that the iPods were theirs to keep. Some had sold them or given them as gifts, according to the caller.

“Nothing was ever said about ever having to give it back,” the caller said. “If I’d known it was company property, I never would have picked it up.”

“They were not a gift,” company spokeswoman LuAnn Jenkins said Friday. Jenkins said she didn’t know whether the company ever intended for the workers to keep the iPods.

But…

As more than 100 workers enthusiastically received their iPods one morning last month at the Arlington plant, two company spokesmen would not directly answer questions from Star-Telegram reporter Aman Batheja as to whether workers would be able to keep the iPods once they left the company.

“We haven’t crossed that bridge,” said Scott Kahl, human resources director.

That was then, this is now. There ain’t no bridge to cross.

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