Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Former Apple employee sues company, claims Steve Jobs promised him a job for life

Former Apple employee Wayne Goodrich has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that he was fired without cause despite being was guaranteed a job for life by the late, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Goodrich, who was in charge of executive producing Apple's public presentations prior to being forced out of the company, claims that in addition to the role on his job description, Jobs used him as a sounding board, close adviser, and confidante.

Goodrich joined Apple in 1998, and said that during a one-on-one meeting with Jobs in May 2005, after the then-CEO's return from medical leave for pancreatic cancer treatment, he was promised that he would always have a job at Apple, now the world's most valuable company by market capitalization - ever.

He also claims that Jobs repeated the message in 2010, when he told Goodrich that if anything happened to his position, he would receive a different job, even if Jobs was no longer present with the company. Despite those assurances, Goodrich was fired in Dec. 2011 for what he says Apple referred to as "business reasons" unrelated to his job performance.

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The complaint said, "This express promise by Steve Jobs was consistent with a practice that Steve Jobs had, acting on behalf of defendant Apple, of promising job security to certain key employees who worked directly with him for many years."

Goodrich's lawsuit, filed in The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, was first reported by Business Week on Tuesday.

Goodrich has alleged breach of contract and unfair business practices, and is suing the company for damages related to lost restricted stock units, wages, benefits, as well as for emotional distress.

The restricted stock alone could be worth a pretty penny. It was worth $97.40 a share when awarded in 2008 and $656.22 a share at the close of business as of Tuesday, Aug. 21. The lawsuit claims that Apple fired Goodrich to avoid paying off on his restricted stock.

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