An Apple electronics retail store in New York faces a discrimination lawsuit after two African-American men alleged that one of the store’s employees told them that they weren’t welcome there.
According to Apple Insider, the suit claims that plaintiffs Brian Johnston, 34 and Nile Charles, 25, visited Apple’s Broadway location in New York’s Upper West Side in December. According to the suit, the men entered the store wearing baggy clothing and sweats with hoods to purchase earphones, when a White employee approached them.
The suit claimed that the worker then confronted them in “intimidating fashion,” saying to them “you know the deal.” Shortly thereafter, the men said that the employee ordered them to either purchase something or see a Mac computer specialist or they would be forced to leave the store.
“And before you say I’m racially discriminating against you, let me stop you. I am discriminating against you,” the lawsuit claimed the employee said, according to Apple Insider. “I don’t want ‘your kind’ hanging out in the store.”
The men said that as they attempted to record the incident on their phones, another employee approached them and told them they had to leave.
“If you want to know why, it’s because I said so,” the suit claimed the second employee said, according to Apple Insider. “Consider me god. You have to go.”
The men then attempted to notify a manager, but their requests were ignored, the suit claimed. The men said they found a manager on their own and accused the employees of racial profiling.
After the incident, Johnston and Charles said they were “shocked and humiliated.” Their suit accuses Apple of discrimination under New York and Federal civil rights laws and seeks punitive damages.
The suit gained attention after it was moved to U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York. It was originally filed with the New York Supreme Court in February.
Apple has been accused of discrimination in the past. In 2010, a Florida man filed a discrimination suit against one of its retail stores after he said they wouldn’t grant him a promotion because of his age.
Also, The New York Daily News reported last year that Apple’s SoHo store in New York discriminated against Asians by denying them iPads. One woman claimed that an employee asked a person why they wanted the device since their English wasn’t good. She also said that a manager retrieved the tablet for one Asian man, but asked him if was planning on reselling it. An Apple spokesperson at the time declined comment.