Fired Apple employee claims Jobs promised him job security, files wrongful termination suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2014
A former employee who coordinated Apple's famous keynote presentations and claims to have introduced the iPhone maker to Siri, Inc., filed a wrongful termination suit against the company last week after reportedly being assured job security by late co-founder Steve Jobs.

According to the complaint filed with the California Superior Court in Santa Clara County, Wayne Goodrich said he was fired in December not due to performance issues, but for what Apple called ?business reasons,? reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

Goodrich, who began work at Apple in 1998, was the "executive producer" of the company's famous keynote presentations and claims to have collaborated with Jobs in planning the events. The complaint goes on to say that Goodrich played a "key role" in coordinating major product launches, including those for the company's bread and butter iPhone and iPad devices.

In the complaint, the presentation guru said he was the first Apple employee to meet with representatives from Siri, Inc. and introduced the startup to the Cupertino tech giant. Apple later acquired Siri and incorporated its virtual assistant technology into the iPhone 4S.

At issue is a purported one-on-one meeting with Jobs following the late CEO's return from medical leave in 2005, in which Goodrich was allegedly promised he would have always have a job at Apple. In 2010, Jobs reportedly reassured Goodrich that he would be offered another job if his then-current position was compromised or if the co-founder was no longer with the company. It is unclear if records of the meetings were kept.

?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.

Apple Retina Display
Steve Jobs explaining the Retina display at 2010's iPhone 4 keynote event.


The plaintiff's lawyer, Phil Horowitz, claims Apple fired Goodrich to avoid paying out the restricted stock he earned during his tenure at the company. The value of the stock rose from $97.40 per share when it was awarded in 2008 to some $635 per share as of the suit's filing date. Goodrich is seeking undisclosed damages for the lost restricted stock, wages, benefits and emotional distress in connection with the alleged breach of contract and unfair business practices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member


    I really hope their guy is being a lying, whiny, vindictive attention whore and he was fired for just cause. I really, really don't want to believe he would be fired for the reason stated in the article. Some of the stories (true or not) coming out from Apple these days, particularly business practises etc are.. disturbing and cynical. I hope there's not much truth to them, otherwise there's a problem. For a company with this much money, this shit should not be happening. I'd like to think Steve Jobs wasn't solely the glue keeping everything in check. 


     


     


    Quote:


    Phil Horowitz, claims Apple fired Goodrich to avoid paying out the restricted stock he earned during his tenure at the company.


  • Reply 2 of 84
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    I hope that Apple is not practicing what is actually stated here in this article.  Doesn't sound good.  Of course we may not know all the facts.  Yet it makes Apple looks bad.

  • Reply 3 of 84


    "Business reasons" isn't an excuse any company would give. I'm sure he has a nice termination letter using industry standard terminology. Sounds like he wasn't needed any more (no one but Steve could work with the guy) and he wants to be paid. He needs to go away with whatever severance he got.

  • Reply 4 of 84
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,232member


    I've always admired the simplicity of his presentations. I bet he had a lot of input into the development of Keynote.

  • Reply 5 of 84
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,196member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dunks View Post


    I've always admired the simplicity of his presentations. I bet he had a lot of input into the development of Keynote.



     


    Steve's simplicity goes back to 1989 at NeXT. Keynote was developed by some key internal devs and ex-Lighthouse Design talent that worked with us at NeXT on many of their very solid products. To survive 14 years at Apple working on Keynote presentations with Steve is impressive as he's a stickler for talent that doesn't screw them up--he would do hours upon hours of presentation to get it right.


     


    This guy should easily be a milliionaire by now. If not, I have to question how much input he had seeing as he was at Apple when I was there.

  • Reply 6 of 84
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post


    I really hope their guy is being a lying, whiny, vindictive attention whore and he was fired for just cause. I really, really don't want to believe he would be fired for the reason stated in the article. Some of the stories (true or not) coming out from Apple these days, particularly business practises etc are.. disturbing and cynical. I hope there's not much truth to them, otherwise there's a problem. For a company with this much money, this shit should not be happening. I'd like to think Steve Jobs wasn't solely the glue keeping everything in check. 


     


     



    I don't even want to make a comment.  But I will. I hope the right thing is done and that the person will eventually be able to move on.  I only know that most wrongful terminations have merit whether or not the court or jury sees it. Unless there is plenty of documentation to back up the employer, I will always be on the side of the employee.  I'm sure he is asking for he feels is REASONABLE under the circumstances because he has to go through the court process, which for individuals is even more stressful, plus taxes that have to be paid and attorney's fees.  Whatever they ask, they get less than half take home and they usually have a difficult time getting work in the mean time or as a result.


     


    I don't know why the people that file wrongful termination lawsuits are automatically treated poorly.   Usually, they have merit, that's all i am going to say.


     


    But, we'll see if more gets publicized. Unless there is sufficient evidence from Apple legal that it was a proper and just termination, I will aways be on the side of the victim.

  • Reply 7 of 84


    If it was a verbal contract with no witnesses, between two people; one of which is dead, the living guy is fucked. 

  • Reply 8 of 84
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


    If it was a verbal contract with no witnesses, between two people; one of which is dead, the living guy is fucked. 



    Well, verbal contracts are legal in the State of California unless it pertains to Federal Laws and has to be in writing.   At least that's my understanding.


     


     Maybe there are witnesses on some level. 

  • Reply 9 of 84
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,386member
    I'm not quite buying it. The article is a bit scarce on info. If you've read Steve Jobs' biography, he wasn't that gracious to begin with. He kind of screwed an early Apple contributor by denying him stock options since he was classified as part-time, only to feel betrayed by Jobs when Apple took off.

    Just sayin. Doesn't sound like Jobs' style to essentially take care of someone like that. Then again, he did give Ives free reign and wrote it in that way before he died.
  • Reply 10 of 84
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member


    If SJ thought this guy was useful, why not keep him around? He might be a giant pain in the ass. Cook may not think he's required. Either way, it's obvious that Cook's presentations are a little lacklustre in comparison to Steve's. And it's not exactly charisma or charm, when he's relaxed TC's great. There have been epic features and products that Cook's introduced now, and yet they've all seemed... underwhelming?


     


    Maybe TC's "not a product person, per se", but that's not quite it. Steve took us through the history, the context of the Apple "innovations" demonstrated in new products, could articulate why they were better than the competition (often humourously) and would explain what problem the feature/products solved. TC could do this better, it's not an insurmountable challenge.


     


    There's no evidence that this Keynote guy contributed these vital parts. Maybe Steve couldn't be arsed with Keynote animations. As far as making a tacky boom noise to sync with not-entirely-earth-shattering prices, we're probably better off without this dude.


     


    We all know there's been something missing in Apple of late. Hopefully it's not just Steve. They'd be hard-pressed to rectify that.

  • Reply 11 of 84


    All these reports make Apple look more and more like it's turning into "just another company". 

  • Reply 12 of 84
    joshajosha Posts: 901member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bottleworks View Post


    All these reports make Apple look more and more like it's turning into "just another company". 



    Yes it is what happens often when a companies leadership changes.


    There could even be personal conflicts entering into this situation.


    I suggest no more speculation, the court case "may" bring out the facts, or Apple offers a payout.

  • Reply 13 of 84
    doh123doh123 Posts: 323member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bottleworks View Post


    All these reports make Apple look more and more like it's turning into "just another company". 



    this isn't a report... its completely one sided too with information only coming from this guys lawyer, which will say anything to make Apple look like the evil company victimizing his client.

  • Reply 14 of 84
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Fired from a company that you've invested a huge portion of your life in?

    What would you do NeXT?
  • Reply 15 of 84
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,497member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post


    .......I only know that most wrongful terminations have merit whether or not the court or jury sees it. Unless there is plenty of documentation to back up the employer, I will always be on the side of the employee. ........


    I don't know why the people that file wrongful termination lawsuits are automatically treated poorly.   Usually, they have merit, that's all i am going to say.


     


    But, we'll see if more gets publicized. Unless there is sufficient evidence from Apple legal that it was a proper and just termination, I will aways be on the side of the victim.



    Look, some employers can be real bastards, there is no way getting around it.  And some employees can be not a good fit, if not harmful to a company.  We are talking about people, here, with attitudes that fit across the entire bell curve.  I would be surprised if the distribution of bad to good employers was any different to that of employees.  So given there are many more employees than employers, the odds are that as an absolute number, there are many more bad employees than employers.  Believe it or not, employers are people too.


    Not sure of the implications in this case, but quite often it is just easier for the employer to just agree to a payout rather than fight it in the courts.  In my country, with specific unfair dismissal laws that greatly restrict the reasons and even the process for fair dismissal, with low costs to the ex employee, the laws are sometimes argued as a problem that actually discourages smallish business from employing people.  

  • Reply 16 of 84


    Steve Jobs was known for being a difficult prick at times. Maybe this guy was one, too.

  • Reply 17 of 84
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post


    "Business reasons" isn't an excuse any company would give. I'm sure he has a nice termination letter using industry standard terminology. Sounds like he wasn't needed any more (no one but Steve could work with the guy) and he wants to be paid. He needs to go away with whatever severance he got.





    No, actually, put yourself in his shoes. Think of your wife and your children. OK?


     


    He needs to get as much money out of Apple as he can. You'd do the same, don't lie.

  • Reply 18 of 84
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Entropys View Post


    Look, some employers can be real bastards, there is no way getting around it.  And some employees can be not a good fit, if not harmful to a company.  We are talking about people, here, with attitudes that fit across the entire bell curve.  I would be surprised if the distribution of bad to good employers was any different to that of employees.  So given there are many more employees than employers, the odds are that as an absolute number, there are many more bad employees than employers.  Believe it or not, employers are people too.


    Not sure of the implications in this case, but quite often it is just easier for the employer to just agree to a payout rather than fight it in the courts.  In my country, with specific unfair dismissal laws that greatly restrict the reasons and even the process for fair dismissal, with low costs to the ex employee, the laws are sometimes argued as a problem that actually discourages smallish business from employing people.  





    But the employer has a higher weight than the employee. It's the same reason that when claiming rape, the smallish girl gets a stronger claim than the big burly defendent. It's more "likely". Depends on the country though.

  • Reply 20 of 84



    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }
    The whole concept of this guy being promised he would always have a Job at Apple died with Jobs.  If he even said it.  How could someone who could has be kicked out of this same company he founded make such a promise.  Out with the old in with the new.  


     
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