Did Steve Jobs Promise Some Employees Jobs for Life?
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly promised Wayne Goodrich that he would have a job for life at the company. If anything happened to his current position, Goodrich was allegedly told that he would receive another job at Apple.
That all changed last December when he was fired.
According to Bloomberg, Goodrich has now filed a lawsuit against Apple in California Superior Court on claims that he was fired for business reasons that were not connected to his performance.
Goodrich is seeking compensation for the loss of the restricted stock he received in 2008. At that time, Apple was trading at just under $100 a share. At market close on Monday, the Mac maker had become the most valuable company in history, trading at $665.15.
Goodrich makes some interesting claims about Apple and his time at the company. Most notably, he supposedly introduced Apple to Siri, the virtual personal assistant technology that the iPod creator purchased and turned into a multi-billion-dollar feature. (Apple used Siri to promote the iPhone 4S in every commercial. Without it, the device may not have been as successful.)
If these claims are accurate, this could present an interesting battle for Apple. The problem for Goodrich is that he did not receive the job security promised in writing. While he claims that Jobs had also promised job security to other key employees, Goodrich is unlikely to get far on that argument alone.
However, he could make an impression on a jury -- if the case gets that far. In that event, the jury may weigh the facts (in which Goodrich was reportedly an instrumental employee) against the company's actions (Goodrich's lawyer claims he was fired so that Apple could avoid paying the restricted stock).
Regardless, this is still a case of he said, they said. Without a written statement from Jobs himself, Goodrich would need a video tape of the promise to ensure victory. His lawyer may call witnesses who can back up the claim that job security was promised to key employees within Apple, but witnesses can be discredited more easily than physical or audible proof.
It is also wholly possible that Goodrich's claims are baseless, which is likely what Apple's lawyers will say when they release a statement. Thus far, the iPhone maker has remained silent.
Follow me @LouisBedigianBZ
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.