A 33-year-old Ontario man who requires a wheelchair just came forward with a lawsuit against his former employer, Apple. Robert Shaw is suing for lost wages and other damages after the store he worked at didn't accommodate his disability and then dismissed him. The former Apple employee's lawsuit is also accusing the company of harassment, bullying and creating a toxic work environment.
Robert Shaw, who worked at the electronics store for eight years as an "Apple Genius", believes his human rights were violated when he submitted a request for accommodation that wasn't adequately fulfilled by Apple.
He states that he was subject to bullying, harassment, and a toxic work environment after requesting that they create the store more accessible to him.
Mr. Shaw and his lawyer, Andrew Monkhouse, think that the tech giant may have failed to comply with Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), according to the news release.
After making a switch from their Square One store in Mississauga to Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke, Robert submitted a request for the store to accommodate his disability.
He asked that they provide a table that would line up well with the height of his wheelchair, as well as automatic doors so that he could enter and exit the store.
Four months in, the former employee says the store still hadn't complied with his request.
Narcity contacted his lawyer, Andrew Monkhouse, who said that a coworker of Roberts told him that "maybe Apple is no longer the place for you."
Mr. Monkhouse also told Narcity that "Robert was bullied and harassed because when he asked for accommodation or to do other roles, he was told to 'do more' in his current role, but couldn't 'do more' because he was not given adequate working space."
"A desk was eventually ordered, but was somehow misplaced," Mr. Monkhouse said in the email.
Mr. Shaw also claims that he was told that his desk did not meet the "visual requirements" of the store.
The manager of the store told him that "this is what Apple says you get, and we believe this is accessible. Not all Wheelchairs are the same height so we can't accommodate everything."
Robert disagrees, because his wheelchair is a standard height, and he feels it would have been a simple fix if they did not have the visual requirement issue.
It was about a year after he filed the individual accommodation request that Robert was dismissed, in July 2019.
At the Mississauga Square One store, "Robert had issues moving around. He was eventually put only doing repairs 'in the back' with no interaction with clients. This hurt his internal scores and was not a fulfilling job," Mr. Monkhouse told Narcity in an email.
Narcity has reached out to Apple for comment.