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Lawsuit accuses Apple of age bias in retail promotions

updated 03:00 pm EST, Fri December 3, 2010

May have backing of employment commissions

A Florida man, Michael Katz, is accusing Apple of breaking the state's Civil Rights Act through its promotion practices. Starting in March 2006, Katz began working at the Millenia Mall Apple Store in Orlando. 60 at the time, Katz says that he several times sought the chance to be promoted to Creative status, but was denied in every instance.

Katz alleges that he was discriminated against because of his age, according to AppleInsider, since the people who did manage to get Creative positions were at least 15 years younger, and less qualified. "Katz was not provided with any explanation for his repeated denial of promotion opportunities," court documents read. "Rather, his supervisor simply denied that Katz had ever expressed a desire to obtain a Creative position."

Katz claims to have been "constructively terminated" from the Millenia store a little over a year later, in September 2007. He then filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations. In June 2009, the EEOC is said to have agreed that there was "reasonable cause" to think Apple engaged in age discrimination. No conciliation with Apple was reached, however, and the FCHR did not make any ruling.

As compensation, Katz is seeking damages as well as back pay. Apple regularly associates a youthful look with its workers in Apple Store advertising; many of the people featured in photos are in their 20s.

by MacNN Staff



  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple are hypcrites.

    Their top brass are old and fugly but they discriminate based on age for these "Creatives" positions? Have you seen warts on Schiller?

    Shouldn't Apple strive to provide the best learning opportunities for their customers at the stores rather than focusing a youthful appearance? Experts or mentors are supposed to be "experienced" which usually implies someone who is "older".

    Get the the program Apple.

  1. Madison

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    So you're automatically assuming this man is correct, and hasn't exaggerated or fabricated anything? That's a HUGE leap of faith. Everyone has an agenda today, and I doubt this man is any different. He may well have a legitimate case, but let's wait and see.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Having worked in retail...

    ...both management and the employees can suck so it can cut both ways too; a bad manager with a shotty employee is not uncommon.

    The hard part is proving that he was not promoted because of age and not because of something else. He has to prove that he unequivocally was not promoted purely on the basis of age if that is his argument. If he is right, the store management should be tossed and replaced.

    According to the EEOC...

    "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, s**, or national origin. "

    This means they can discriminate against you for having a big nose, a**, crooked eyes, bad breath, or just because they don't like you. If he was a grumpy old man who didn't get along well with customers, would it be much of a surprise to anyone why they didn't want to keep him? Probably not. However, if he was one of those sweet little old farts that work at Walmart who try to help you with your bag but doesn't move too quick, then I have a big problem with it. I hope it's the former of the two and not the latter but only time will tell.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2010


    comment title

    Oh give me a break already, these old people have so many extra privileges and abilities, they have some nerve complaining about not being able to be in an ad. This country treats seniors like gold, giving them free health care and money simply for being old, while the rest of the population can rot. Go enjoy your benefits and stop complaining.

  1. Zanziboy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Anything is Possible

    Sadly, retailing is a industry that revolves around impressions rather than capability. Many retail managers have a visual image of the kinds of people they want to employ without respect to their ability to satisfy the customer or build relationships. I always find it strange when a realtor hands me a card with his picture on it. Does it really matter what he looks like?

  1. charlituna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Way too many facts are missing

    There is no proof given what qualifications were stated for each of the positions or that Katz had them and the others did not. Perhaps they needed people that knew particular programs that he didn't. Perhaps the hours he was willing to work were not in sync with the needs of the store. We haven't seen his job reviews or any comments on those surveys they are constantly sending out. Maybe he acted like a total asshat all the time and they didn't want folks stuck with that during their training. Perhaps his job performance as a specialist was lousy or he had attendence issues. Perhaps the reason why only 20somethings are in those photos is because Apple uses images on a volunteer basis and only the egotistical 20somethings volunteer. Who knows.

    But it is interesting to point out that he was 60 years old when he was hired. Why would anti age folks bother to hire him at all when I'm sure there are plenty of pimp faced 19 years old waiting for a job at Apple.
    And the Florida off refusing to make a judgment could be rather damning. If they are anything like Cali it could mean that they found no cause but withheld that judgment so he could file a suit if he wished.

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