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Court greenlights lawsuit from ex-Apple worker promised job for life

updated 01:40 pm EDT, Wed May 21, 2014

Apple insists promise was 'too vague'

A judge for the Santa Clara County Superior Court, Carol Overton, has given the go-ahead for a lawsuit targeting Apple over job promises. The plaintiff, Wayne Goodrich, says that he reported directly to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs for over 20 years, including not just time at Apple -- where he spent 17 years -- but also at Pixar and NeXT. His role involved preparing Jobs' public presentations, which have often been a huge draw for the media and helped to sell products like the iMac, iPod, and iPhone.

Goodrich claims that in 2005, Jobs promised him that he would always have a job at Apple, regardless of what happened to his position or Jobs himself. Nevertheless Goodrich was fired from Apple in December 2011, just two months after Jobs' death from pancreatic cancer. In his lawsuit Goodrich claims this happened for "business reasons" unconnected to job performance, and as compensation he is seeking punitive damages for lost wages and restricted stock units worth over $1 million.

Until Tuesday, lawyers for Apple had been pursuing a summary judgment, arguing that Jobs' alleged promise was "too vague" to establish the existence of a contract, and that Goodrich was really under "at will" terms that let Apple fire him at any time. They also suggested that the firing happened because Schiller had no use for Goodrich after Jobs' death, rather than as an attempt to deny him stock. "The evidence simply did not show [Apple marketing head] Phil Schiller knew the amount of the restricted stock units when he made the decision to terminate," wrote Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe attorney Joseph Liburt.

In her ruling, Overton says she found enough evidence to go to trial based on the legitimacy of the reasons for his firing. Apple lawyers have already objected, and Overton is expected to make a final ruling within the next several days.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. OldMacGeek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-04-10

    . . . but he *did* have a job for life - for the life of Steve Jobs. :)

  1. chimaera

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 04-08-07

    Such a shame they didn't keep Jobs' promise, since it would have been so easy. Even if management no longer had a need for him, he could have been assigned janitorial duty for the rest of his life, and kept his stock units. There was no need to dump him outright. This might even be how Boothby got his position at the Academy.

  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-15-06

    How I perceive this is Goodrich probably did not fulfill as what Phil Schiller expected or Phil Schiller just never like this guy from the beginning. It's just one of those things. When the boss went, no one is backing Goodrich up and he is on his own. The nature of corporate world.

  1. cancerman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-29-04

    Boothby, Academy, I see what you did there. Nice TNG reference.

  1. applesean

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-15-13

    This is a complete embarrassment for Apple. If nothing more, this is a renewed call to strengthen worker protections in America. There is no excuse for treating American employees as if they are living in the third world. Shame on Apple, and shame on America.

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