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Florida man accuses Apple store of age discrimination

post #1 of 181
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A Florida man in his 60s has sued Apple, alleging that he was denied promotions when he worked at the company's retail store because of his age.

Michael Katz has accused Apple of violating the state's Civil Rights Act, as he believes he was subjected to discrimination based on his age. The complaint, filed this week, seeks damages in excess of $15,000.

Katz began working as a Mac specialist at the Apple store at Millennia Mall in Orlando in March 2006, when he was 60 years old. In his lawsuit, he says he expressed his desire to be promoted to the title of "Creative."

In his tenure at the Apple store, there were "several" openings for creatives at the store, and Katz claims he applied each time but was denied the position. Those who were selected for the job were at least 15 years younger than him, he said.

"Katz was passed over for promotion multiple times in favor of individuals with less seniority with Apple and inferior qualifications," the complaint reads. "Katz was not provided with any explanation for his repeated denail of promotion opportunities. Rather, his supervisor simply denied that Katz had ever expressed a desire to obtain a Creative position."

Katz was "constructively terminated" from the Orlando store in September 2007, and he filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human Relations. In June 2009, the EEOC reportedly found "reasonable cause" that Katz was denied promotions by Apple because of his age.

"The EEOC attempted to conciliate the matter, but those efforts failed," the complaint reads. It also notes that the FCHR did not issue a determination on his case.



"Katz's FCRA claims are therefore ripe for litigation, and he is permitted, pursuant to Florida Statute 760.07 to file a civil action in this Court seeking a remedy for the unlawful employment practices described herein," it states.

The suit was filed in the 9th Judiial Circuit Court in Orange County, Florida, where the Orlando store is located. Katz is seeking back pay and and damages from the Cupertino, Calif., company.
post #2 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A Florida man in his 60s has sued Apple, alleging that he was denied promotions when he worked at the company's retail store because of his age.

Michael Katz has accused Apple of violating the state's Civil Rights Act, as he believes he was subjected to discrimination based on his age. The complaint, filed this week, seeks damages in excess of $15,000.

Katz began working as a Mac specialist at the Apple store at Millennia Mall in Orlando in March 2006, when he was 60 years old. In his lawsuit, he says he expressed his desire to be promoted to the title of "Creative."

In his tenure at the Apple store, there were "several" openings for creatives at the store, and Katz claims he applied each time but was denied the position. Those who were selected for the job were at least 15 years younger than him, he said.

"Katz was passed over for promotion multiple times in favor of individuals with less seniority with Apple and inferior qualifications," the complaint reads. "Katz was not provided with any explanation for his repeated denail of promotion opportunities. Rather, his supervisor simply denied that Katz had ever expressed a desire to obtain a Creative position."

Katz was "constructively terminated" from the Orlando store in September 2007, and he filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human Relations. In June 2009, the EEOC reportedly found "reasonable cause" that Katz was denied promotions by Apple because of his age.

"The EEOC attempted to conciliate the matter, but those efforts failed," the complaint reads. It also notes that the FCHR did not issue a determination on his case.



"Katz's FCRA claims are therefore ripe for litigation, and he is permitted, pursuant to Florida Statute 760.07 to file a civil action in this Court seeking a remedy for the unlawful employment practices described herein," it states.

The suit was filed in the 9th Judiial Circuit Court in Orange County, Florida, where the Orlando store is located. Katz is seeking back pay and and damages from the Cupertino, Calif., company.

Shame on you, Apple.

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post #3 of 181
Go Katz!
post #4 of 181
I actually believe the guy. I don't believe someone goes through the trouble of contacting the EEOC for no reason at all. I don't believe the guys manager on any level. It's entirely believable that Apple would do something like this.
post #5 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Povilas View Post

Shame on you, Apple.

You have only heard one side of the story. You have idea if he really was the “most qualified” or if those qualifications were enough to counter a poor attitude toward other employees and customers, or if he really expressed interest in the position. Why was he terminated and who else at Apple has been treated this way by Katz manager(s) or Apple in general which shows a pattern of attitude toward the non-hipster crowd or whatever you want to call it.

PS: I agree with AdoniSMU that it’s believable, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
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post #6 of 181
His opinion of less qualified is just that, HIS opinion.
post #7 of 181
From the limited details we have, it sounds like a honest case. But...we dont know how well he performed in his job or how his attendance was, his customer service skills were...etc, etc. Maybe he sucked as an employee and the younger employees showed more drive and commitment.
post #8 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

I actually believe the guy. It's entirely believable that Apple would do something like this.

While I would want to see justice served if in fact the guy was a victim of age discrimination, why would you think it's "entirely believable that Apple would do something like this"?

I've never seen any allegations that Apple has a corporate culture of age discrimination, and beyond some kind of general impression that the tech industry work force tends to skew young I don't know why I should suspect it.

Further, we're talking about a particular store, so even if these allegation prove true, it's likely a problem with that store manager rather than some directive from Cupertino to hold back the old guys at the store.

In fact, given their efforts at appealing to a broad demographic, I would expect having some older staff members at the Stores would be seen by Apple as an asset. A 40 year old plus iPad buyer might find it pleasant to work with someone closer to their own age as opposed to a slightly manic 22 year old who can barely disguise their impatience.
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post #9 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You have only heard one side of the story. You have idea if he really was the “most qualified” or if those qualifications were enough to counter a poor attitude toward other employees and customers, or if he really expressed interest in the position. Why was he terminated and who else at Apple has been treated this way by Katz manager(s) or Apple in general which shows a pattern of attitude toward the non-hipster crowd or whatever you want to call it.

Since it's a civil matter I think it's more likely than not that this guy was discriminated against because I don't think someone files an EEOC complaint over a position they simply weren't interested in. Second if the manager didn't know the guy had an interest in the position after applying for it multiple times he should've even just in passing....just trying to cover up the discrimination. Otherwise he would've simply said we can't hire you for this position for XYZ reasons. Since the manager couldn't point to any good reasons that leaves the reasons that would be bad reasons...
post #10 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A Florida man in his 60s has sued Apple, alleging that he was denied promotions when he worked at the company's retail store because of his age.

Michael Katz has accused Apple of violating the state's Civil Rights Act, as he believes he was subjected to discrimination based on his age. The complaint, filed this week, seeks damages in excess of $15,000.

Katz began working as a Mac specialist at the Apple store at Millennia Mall in Orlando in March 2006, when he was 60 years old. In his lawsuit, he says he expressed his desire to be promoted to the title of "Creative."

In his tenure at the Apple store, there were "several" openings for creatives at the store, and Katz claims he applied each time but was denied the position. Those who were selected for the job were at least 15 years younger than him, he said.

"Katz was passed over for promotion multiple times in favor of individuals with less seniority with Apple and inferior qualifications," the complaint reads. "Katz was not provided with any explanation for his repeated denail of promotion opportunities. Rather, his supervisor simply denied that Katz had ever expressed a desire to obtain a Creative position."

Katz was "constructively terminated" from the Orlando store in September 2007, and he filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human Relations. In June 2009, the EEOC reportedly found "reasonable cause" that Katz was denied promotions by Apple because of his age.

"The EEOC attempted to conciliate the matter, but those efforts failed," the complaint reads. It also notes that the FCHR did not issue a determination on his case.



"Katz's FCRA claims are therefore ripe for litigation, and he is permitted, pursuant to Florida Statute 760.07 to file a civil action in this Court seeking a remedy for the unlawful employment practices described herein," it states.

The suit was filed in the 9th Judiial Circuit Court in Orange County, Florida, where the Orlando store is located. Katz is seeking back pay and and damages from the Cupertino, Calif., company.

Comment
This will cheaper to settle out of court.

I am not surprised the man did not get promoted to a creative position. His suit and the way it is made up does not sound very creative. The only thing is unfortunately it will cost Apple more to handle this through the legal channels. Offer him $10K so long as he signs a no further action agreement. OR tie him up in legal knots for 15-20 years and nature might take its course.

Sad really at least he had a job, many would have traded with him just for the Job.
post #11 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Povilas View Post

Shame on you, Apple.

Shame on you for making a snap judgment.

We don't have all the facts so no one should be making any kind of judgments. Perhaps it was about his age. Perhaps it was not. Perhaps the gentleman is wrong about his contention that those picked were un or under qualified. Perhaps he was passed over due to his availability to work the needed number of hours and/or actual hours of the day required. Perhaps he was passed over due to his personality. When you are working one on one with someone who could be a bonafide computer idiot for an extended period, personality would matter
post #12 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by htoelle View Post

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This will cheaper to settle out of court.

I am not surprised the man did not get promoted to a creative position. His suit and the way it is made up does not sound very creative. The only thing is unfortunately it will cost Apple more to handle this through the legal channels. Offer him $10K so long as he signs a no further action agreement. OR tie him up in legal knots for 15-20 years and nature might take its course.

Sad really at least he had a job, many would have traded with him just for the Job.

Having just defended Apple in a previous post I have to say that this is completely uncalled for. If the guy has a legitimate gripe (and it's certainly not out of the question) then he should be compensated and the store in question should change its polices.

Claiming that any kind of discrimination is OK because he's lucky to have a job at all is just nasty. It's a frightened peasant mentality that until recently wasn't really part of the American character.
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post #13 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwoot27 View Post

From the limited details we have, it sounds like a honest case. But...we dont know how well he performed in his job or how his attendance was, his customer service skills were...etc, etc. Maybe he sucked as an employee and the younger employees showed more drive and commitment.

Of course what you say IS possible. But his assessment is equally possible. As was mentioned in the article, an attempt at reconciliation was attempted. At such, Mr Katz would have seen any evidence against his performance (one would assume). If there were serious issues here, then it seems to me unlikely that he would pursue the claim.

Of course, one never knows this. There are those who are oblivious to realistic criticism and go on feeling themselves to be injured party blind to their own issues. This is why we have juries.

However, I have to say that I have noticed how there are almost no older people working in Apple stores. It is hard not to wonder if there is not some discrimination going on. It does not need to be official. It is natural that people "feel more comfortable" with others in their own peer group - whatever that peer group may be. It is also very easy to find fault. So it is easy to see how younger people in hiring positions can always come away thinking "Gee, I just feel better about the younger guy." When repeated - that is discrimination.
post #14 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Shame on you for making a snap judgment.

Plz stop it. Jobs' ass is way too clean already.
post #15 of 181
What I find suspicious is that Katz claims that during his "tenure" other people were hired for the Creative position instead of him - speaking as if he had been a proven long-time employee. He was hired in March, and fired 18 months later. He obviously didn't have much of a "tenure" to speak of when he started applying for such a competitive position. And did he every make his desire known to the store manager personally beyond just submitting a paper application? I interviewed with Apple for a Creative position and was offered the Specialist position instead; and as in any retail environment I was specifically told there was no guarantee I would automatically be considered for a promotion to Creative.
post #16 of 181
At first glance I'm inclined to side with the employee. In my area I know of other two older folks being told by Apple Store management that they may not be the best fit for the Store. When asked why, one person was told that Apple was seeking a "youthful vibrance". I don't know the complete back story of the employee in this article but store management more often than not plays to the core desires of corporate. If that's the case in this article then Apple does have a problem and it's from a corporate prospective.
post #17 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Povilas View Post

Shame on you, Apple.

I admire your ability to reach a judgement simply on the basis of this one-sided complaint! Has no law firm contacted you yet for a senior partner position?

Please, offer your incredible insight to us folks that are not as gifted as to how you see the proof that Apple was at fault. I'm sure you have it because we all know you would never rush to judgement until you know all the facts of the case.
post #18 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

I don't think someone files an EEOC complaint over a position they simply weren't interested in.

People do all sorts of reason because they are selfish, spiteful or just plain loco. Youre thinking rationally and fairly, but you have to consider that there are a number of people in this world who arent.
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post #19 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by emulator View Post

Plz stop it. Jobs' ass is way too clean already.

Right. Because any time anything at all is alleged about Apple, or any of its employees, we must immediately agree that Apple is in the wrong and guilty, guilty, guilty, or it's evidence of mindless devotion.

In fact, I can't see why this is even a matter for the courts. It should be enough to tell the guy that Jobs' ass is way too clean already and throw him onto the street. If anyone objects we can scream "Fan boys!" and be done with it.
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post #20 of 181
I certainly cannot comment on the merits of this case -- there's just not enough information.

But aside from this case, I suspect we are about to see an avalanche of these types of lawsuits throughout all industries over the next few years. The most self-centered, "entitled" generation in the history of the world is now entering old age. The babyboomers are going to take the idea of "grumpy old man" to a whole new level.
post #21 of 181
this says nothing about Apple, and more about the specific store. Even still, we don't know enough to simply take either side.

He was canned after one year. To ME, this indicates he was passed over for a promotion for other reasons.
post #22 of 181
As a young, white, Christian (non practicing) , heterosexual male I've never had the luxury of being able to claim discrimination any time I've been passed up for a job or promotion in favor of someone less qualified.
post #23 of 181
It is ridiculous for any of us to debate the merits of this case when we do not have all the facts, or even close to all. There are so many missing details. Maybe he was an ass that had a bad attitude. Maybe he had bad breath. Maybe his direct supervisor had it in for him. Maybe he didn't look good in blue or orange or green or black or whatever.

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post #24 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by emulator View Post

Plz stop it. Jobs' ass is way too clean already.

What the hell are you talking about? How does not making a snap judgment translate into kissing Jobs' ass!?
post #25 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

People do all sorts of reason because they are selfish, spiteful or just plain loco. You’re thinking rationally and fairly, but you have to consider that there are a number of people in this world who aren’t.

In June 2009, the EEOC reportedly found "reasonable cause" that Katz was denied promotions by Apple because of his age.

The EEOC is saying admittedly that Apple was discriminating against him because of his age. The EEOC is sanctioning age discrimination.

The guy should totally sue.
post #26 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

In June 2009, the EEOC reportedly found "reasonable cause" that Katz was denied promotions by Apple because of his age.

The EEOC is saying admittedly that Apple was discriminating against him because of his age. The EEOC is sanctioning age discrimination.

Noooo, they're saying they found reasonable cause, meaning it's worth an investigation. Reasonable cause could simply be this man's account of what happened lining up with what actually happened (with him not getting promotions while people 15 years younger did.) The intention behind everything isn't what's the reasonable cause.

Really, if you can't discern this sort of thing, don't comment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

"The guy should totally sue."

I agree actually. If anyone feels this way, and I mean genuinely feels this way, not just butthurt for getting fired, they should pursue legal action.
post #27 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

Since it's a civil matter I think it's more likely than not that this guy was discriminated against because I don't think someone files an EEOC complaint over a position they simply weren't interested in.

I suspect that his complaint has more to do with his firing that the actual Creative position. Especially if he has trouble getting a latter job. He may have been offered some kind of settlement but figures he can get more money out of a lawsuit. Who knows

Quote:

Second if the manager didn't know the guy had an interest in the position after applying for it multiple times he should've even just in passing....just trying to cover up discrimination.

You were there were you, so you don't know if he did you didn't apply. Maybe he mentioned it in passing but didn't follow up with a proper application.

Quote:
Otherwise he would've simply said we can't hire you for this position for XYZ reasons.

Assuming Apple is required to tell someone the reasons, how do you know they didn't. You don't. Maybe they did tell him and he didn't like the reasons. Maybe he refused to work weekends or evenings and was told he would have to. Maybe they needed people who knew programs he didn't. Maybe he didn't come off as a people person. He might think those were BS reasons, so in his own head he decided it was because he was old. Rather than th truth which was that the youngsters were more available, better with people etc
post #28 of 181
edit: Pipped by chronster.
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post #29 of 181
this sounds just like those geniuses that were suing mcdonalds because their burgers made them fat

team apple
post #30 of 181
1. Age discrimination happens. Take it from me. I'll by 65 in March and I was laid off after more than ten years with a company while a person doing the same job who was in his thirties and had been hired a year earlier was kept on.

2. I seriously doubt that Apple corporate had anything to do with this. It's far more likely that this was a local issue.

3. I would lay odds that a LOT of older workers are being canned during this recession. It's the perfect excuse. When you consider that most of those older workers have also seen their 401K plans decimated by that recession, it's even more tragic.
post #31 of 181
Personally I manage in a large retail chain. I can tell you that discrimination allegations or an employee feeling their termination was unfounded is not uncommon. I had an employee apply for the same promotion 6 times, each time he applied he was told what he needed to work on inorder to be considered the next time the opportunity came around. In his mind he did not feel those were real opportunities for him and choose not to improve on those areas. In the end those same issues he did not improve on lead to his termination, and he filed an unfounded race discrimination case that was thrown out because we had the documentation from each conversation, etc.

I don't know anything about this case itself. But people do file complaints all the time. A lot of which are unfounded, and simply boil down to the employee not seeing their faults as being real issues. And their misunderstanding in thinking that in any non-union workplace that seniority counts for anything. Companies will always invest in the long term and people that are flexible, show a willingness to learn and adapt.
post #32 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunslinger View Post

His opinion of less qualified is just that, HIS opinion.

"HIS opinion" is valid if, as a specialist, he was training newer employees how to do the job of a Creative. This happened all the time at the two stores I worked at.

Apple routinely would call upon the Mac Specialists to provide "one on one" training to customers; usually when the Creatives were overworked. And usually other Mac Specialists were the ones showing the ropes to the newer ones and NOT the creatives.

It Katz had been doing this work all along (extremely likely), and the newer guys whom he had interacted with were getting promoted in his place, of course he'd be pissed.

Furthermore, Apple's retail management are not hired because of their strategic thinking and effective resource management. The fact, the management didn't know he wanted the job, (or more precisely "didn't care") is par for the course for Apple's management style.

Generally, Apple managers are pretty mediocre in their execution of nearly all of their duties (with a few notable exceptions). It's no surprise that this is the case since Apple would rather hire former GAP and Banana Republic managers and "teach them Apple Culture" as opposed to growing their own management from the rank and file and "Teaching them Management".

How crazy do you have to be to forego a real career to work your way all the way up the ladder at GAP?? I can't imagine a worse hell. You have to be utterly insane to suffer through that torment. According to Apple, however, these people are perfect for executing managerial decisions at stores whose average yearly revenues exceed $40M.

My apologies to those of you who actually enjoy working up the ladder in retail and just now realized how much your life sucks...
post #33 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

So they thought it was enough to warrant further investigation, that they declared Apple Katz was a victim and Apple was evil, or something else entirely? You’ll have to define how the EEOC defines “reasonable cause” and what those reasons are.

Per my roommate who is a lawyer.

The first thing these offices (state or federal) do is verify the basic facts. In the case that would include the detail that all positions were filled by someone '15 years younger'. If that is true then further investigation could be warranted. If it turns out that one of the positions was filled with someone also in the 'protected class' then the notion falls apart.

That Florida's equivalent office refused to make a judgment could be damning for this gentleman. It implies that they found no backing for his statements. Possibly because there exists evidence that he was refused the post for sone other reason, and or let go for something non age related like attendance or break time abuse. And yes in the case of a fired employee they often exam that issue in conjunction with the complaint.
post #34 of 181
I'll reserve judgment until I see the NPS for all Specialist/Creative/FRS at that store for the relevant time period (the 1 1/2 years of the plaintiff's employment).
post #35 of 181
I really can't speak for how this guy went about his business but my last two trips to the Apple Store I have been greeted by older gentleman. Nothing against older people but these two sales reps didn't know a computer from a calculator. Such reps are not what people want to deal with.
post #36 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon-spec View Post

I'll reserve judgment until I see the NPS for all Specialist/Creative/FRS at that store for the relevant time period (the 1 1/2 years of the plaintiff's employment).

????

I am going to take the guess that NPS is tied to that survey I get in my email after I buy something. And that the Creatives (and whateveer FRS means) have something similar.

That said I am not sure why you would make that comment. Unless you believe, as someone else mentioned, perhaps he was already teaching from time to time and getting lousy survey replies. Or even ones for his sales were lousy. I could see where, depending on the exact comments such things to block him from the position. But I wonder why that wasn't the reply by the supervisor. Saying that his job performance was documented as inadequate doesn't sound as dumb as saying that he never actually applied for the position (which could be true but sounds totally lame as a defense)
post #37 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post

this sounds just like those geniuses that were suing mcdonalds because their burgers made them fat

team apple

no it doesn't.
post #38 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Povilas View Post

Shame on you, Apple.

So, based on no evidence at all, you're prepared to jump in (wasting half a page with your impolite quoting BTW), and be the first on the thread to say it was Apple's fault?

Lawsuits are almost always "he said/he said" affairs. Just because a suit was filed doesn't make anyone guilty of anything. It's certainly far far too early to call.
post #39 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

... It's entirely believable that Apple would do something like this.

Why?

Apple has one the most inclusive, progressive hiring policies you'll find anywhere, but to you it's immediately, "entirely believable" that they would do this?

I tend to believe him myself also having worked a lot of retail jobs in the past and knowing what tin-pot dictators store managers can sometimes be. It's much more likely however, even if the guy is telling the truth, that the particular manager of the Florida store is the issue.

I find it amazing how without knowing anything about this guy, or much about the situation in general, everyone is immediately jumping on the "it's Apple's fault" bandwagon.

Edit: I see addabox has had almost the exact same ideas and was first with them.
post #40 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

A 40 year old plus iPad buyer might find it pleasant to work with someone closer to their own age as opposed to a slightly manic 22 year old who can barely disguise their impatience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I suspect we are about to see an avalanche of these types of lawsuits throughout all industries over the next few years. The most self-centered, "entitled" generation in the history of the world is now entering old age. The babyboomers are going to take the idea of "grumpy old man" to a whole new level.

All I know is that if I hear one more Apple whippersnapper say "cool beans", I am going to go berserk and beat them down with my walker.
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