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Monday, August 20, 2012, 10:48 pm PT (01:48 am ET)

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

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.