updated 10:14 am EDT, Tue August 21, 2012
Apple allegedly citing 'business reasons' for firing
A former Apple worker -- Wayne Goodrich -- is suing the company over breach of contract and unfair business practices, claiming Apple co-founder Steve Jobs promised him he would always have a job, Bloomberg reports. In a complaint filed with the California state court in San Jose, Goodrich says he was fired in December for what Apple said were "business reasons" unrelated to his performance. Goodrich describes himself as a confidant and close adviser to Jobs, and someone who worked under him from 1998 until Jobs' retirement and death in late 2011.
The cornerstone of the lawsuit is a one-on-one meeting in May 2005, in which Jobs allegedly told Goodrich that he would always have a job at Apple. The meeting took place not long after Jobs had returned from his first medical leave for pancreatic cancer. "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," the complaint reads. Goodrich says he received raises and bonuses every year, and that in 2010 Jobs even promised that he would get another job at Apple if something happened to his position and Jobs wasn't around.
Goodrich is seeking damages for lost wages, benefits, and restricted stock units, as well as emotional distress. The lawsuit alleges, in fact, that the stock is the real reason he was fired. Each share was worth $97.40 when it was issued in 2008, but several times that amount in 2011, and Apple may have wanted to avoid paying out the stock.
The complaint elaborates that while at Apple, Goodrich was the executive producer for the company's public presentations, including all of its product releases, and helped to develop them alongside Jobs. He also takes credit for introducing his colleagues to Siri, noting that he was the first person at Apple to meet with the managers of the technology's developer. Apple would eventually buy out the firm and build Siri into iOS.