A former Apple employee is suing the Cupertino company for lost wages and damages due to his dismissal he alleges was in response to his need for a wheelchair.
According to a new press release, Ontario man Robert Shaw alleges that his former employer refused to work on a comprehensive accommodation plan in his place of work and instead provided “piecemeal solutions” to his disability. Shaw claims that his never being provided a legitimate reason for lack of said accommodation caused his health to suffer and that he was also subject to harassment, bullying, and a toxic work environment.
The lawsuit was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by Shaw’s attorney, Andrew Monkhouse. The latter claims that the constructive dismissal of Shaw “constitutes discriminatory conduct under the Ontario Human Rights Code.”
“These actions paint a very different picture than being ranked as one of Canada’s top employers by Forbes and are shocking for one of the world’s most valuable companies,” says Monkhouse.
The press release details Shaw’s claims:
According to the Claim, Robert requested that accommodations be made so he could work safely and comfortably from his wheelchair at Sherway Gardens. Robert was told that the store would be outfitted with an appropriate table and automatic doors in time for his arrival in 2017, but this never happened. Four months after starting at the store, Robert began experiencing soreness and numbness in his arms and hands due to working long hours on tables that were too high. The Claim states that Robert was never provided with an adequate table.
Shaw says that only three of seven doors at the store were made automatic and that instead of installing a button to open to door, the claimant was provided with a remote control that wasn’t reliable. Shaw says that the company formally declined to automate the four remaining doors due to cost issues.
Shaw also claims that he was told by a senior manager at Apple that he wouldn’t be promoted if he continued to be unhappy in his role. Monkhouse says his client was an exemplary employee at Apple and that the company had a duty under law to accommodate Shaw’s disability.
“On its company website, Apple proudly displays its work on accessibility technology,” said Monkhouse, referring to the irony of Apple’s alleged failure to accommodate Shaw’s disability. “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.”