Apple sued by ex-employee who says Steve Jobs promised him a job for life

“Apple Inc. was sued by Wayne Goodrich, who says he was a confidant, sounding board and close adviser to company co-founder Steve Jobs and was fired for no legitimate reason despite Jobs’s promise of job security,” Karen Gullo reports for Bloomberg.

“Goodrich said he was fired in December for what Apple said were ‘business reasons’ not connected to his performance, according to a complaint filed Aug. 17 in California state court in San Jose,” Gullo reports. “Goodrich, who worked for Jobs since 1998, was promised by late chairman of the world’s most valuable company in a one-on- one meeting in May 2005 that he would always have a job at Apple, according to the complaint.”

Gullo reports, “The conversation took place after Jobs’s return from medical leave to receive treatment for pancreatic cancer, Goodrich 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 said in the complaint.”

“Goodrich said he played a key role working with Jobs to coordinate major product events such as the debut of the iPhone and iPad. The keynote speeches — and the resulting media coverage — have been a critical part of Apple’s strategy for introducing new devices,” Gullo reports. “Goodrich was assured by Jobs in 2010 that he would be given another job at Apple if anything happened to his position and Jobs wasn’t around, according to the complaint. Jobs died in October at age 56 after battling a rare form of cancer. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, took over as chief executive officer.”

Read more in the full article here.

36 Comments

    1. Sorry, ChinStrap, a verbal contract is “real.” Proving it can be a problem, as it will be here. If he worked at Apple since 1998, and if he participated with SJ in the ways he said, then this does seem like he might have a case. Whether is can be proven or not is a different, but substantial issue.

      If Tim Cook knew about his status, or even suspected his status, yet got rid of him anyway, it could be yet another flag in the on-going evaluation of the new CEO. It seems they could have offered him a severance package he couldn’t refuse if they really wanted to get rid of him. Likely, they’ll end up doing something similar in whatever settlement they agree on.

      How many others might make the same claim with a leg to stand on? Hard to know. I like to think that SJ did take care of his long time employees as any of us would like to be treated…assuming he’s actually doing his job with the right attitude.

      Why do so many people want to find a way to shaft this guy? Let’s say that SJ actually told his this. I have no reason to doubt it at this juncture. If someone had said the same to you, and you relied on it, would you not be really upset if someone else moves in and ignores that promise?

      Based on his background at Apple, I think he’ll be able to make a case. Again, my worry is now whether this will be another black mark for TC. We should wait to see how this unfolds.

  1. I’m not sure how enforceable the unwritten contract with someone who is sadly passed away, I do wish this man best of luck, but that sounds like a tough lawsuit.

  2. One thing not noted in article is according to this guys website he’s writing a book “SteveNote” about his work. I wonder if that became an issue before or after his firing, I don’t think Jobs would have appreciated it either way.

        1. Breeze, you have not a smidgen of understanding as to how contract law operates, yet you continue to hold that ignorance up for all to see. You’re clearly a kid who’s got a lot of growing up to do. Proof is indeed more difficult where a verbal contract is alleged. But it is hardly “DOA.”

  3. I don’t wish him ANY luck, clearly a “hanger-on” trying to take advantage of a great man who passed away. If he brought value they would keep him. Clearly Jobs provided for his family and his “key” employees. Jobs was well aware of his mortality if he planned to employ this joker “for life” he would have put it in writing.

      1. His argument is that he “..was assured by Jobs in 2010 that he would be given another job at Apple if anything happened to his position and Jobs wasn’t around.”

  4. Everyone is so hung up on the fact that there is nothing in writing. I don’t think it would hold up even *if* it were a written contract. Without Jobs at the helm (or even still alive), the new CEO should be able to make those decisions for the company now regardless. Its not like he can help prepare for any more SteveNotes for product releases, and Tim needs his own man in that role. If that’s all Goodrich brought to the table, letting him go was a good business decision.

    1. Douglas Adams was 49. Never even made it to 50.

      It would have ben oh so ironic if he died at 42. But we get the point. Live to be 70, otherwise life is too short.

        1. Steve would agree. To paraphrase, in his biography Steve found it difficult to believe that you live for a few decades, learn some stuff maybe gain a little bit of wisdom and then poof! it’s all gone.

          In fact, it seems that most of the world’s geniuses only just started to discover things when their life suddenly ended. Most of the masters only became masters just as their age started to effect their work.

          Imagine if Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Bach, Einstein and Edison had lived to even 200 years of age. Einstein would be in his prime right now if that was the case.

          Human life seems to be artificially programmed to end just as its getting started.

  5. Show us the Proof as everyone else has indicated, or it didn’t happen.

    If Steve made this promise then he would of taken care of this, Reports said Steve had been taking care of last minute business including the people around him for more then a month due to being aware that his time left was very short.

    I find it hard to believe that this was not discussed with his Attorney and not included in the last minute business with his estate if it was so important as “Goodrich” Suggests.

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