Ex-Apple Store Genius sues Apple for not accommodating his disability

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Ex-Apple Store Genius sues Apple for not accommodating his disability
Robert Shaw worked in Toronto's Sherway Gardens Apple Store.
Photo: Apple

A former Apple Store Genius is suing Apple for not providing legally obligated adequate facilities to allow him to work with his disability.

Robert Shaw says he was promised that the store he worked at would be fitted with automatic doors and a special table to accommodate his wheelchair. However, this did not happen to the degree allegedly promised.

According to a report by Patently Apple, 33-year-old former Apple Store Genius Shaw has been in a wheelchair for his entire life. He joined Apple to work in its retail stores in March 2011. Initially, he worked at Apple’s Square One store in Mississauga, Canada. He worked there for six years before moving to Toronto’s Sherway Gardens Apple Store.

Shaw claims he was told Apple would outfit the Sherway Gardens Apple Store with a suitable table and automatic doors for his arrival. But this did not happen. Four months after starting work, he started experiencing soreness and numbness in his arms and hands because he was having to work with high tables. He was reportedly never provided with a lower table.

Apple Store Genius’ lawsuit

Apple did make three of seven doors at the store automatic. But it didn’t install a button to open them. Instead, Shaw was given a remote control to control these doors. The remote control regularly failed. Apple declined to make the rest of the doors automatic for cost reasons.

Shaw claims a senior manager at Apple told him that he would not be promoted if he was unhappy in his role. He is suing Apple for lost wages and damages. Toronto employment lawyer Andrew Monkhouse, representing him, said that:

“On its company website, Apple proudly displays its work on accessibility technology. Apple has also used their work on accessibility in its marketing materials. The company has received awards and a great deal of positive press for its efforts in accessibility technology. Yet, these accusations seem to indicate that the company does not appear to be practicing what it preaches in its own retail stores.”

The case suggests that Apple did not comply with Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). It also says that the constructive dismissal of Robert constitutes discriminatory conduct under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

A constructive dismissal is when an employer’s breach of the law causes the employee to resign.

Source: Patently Apple