Bonum Certa Men Certa

How Apple Ruined an Employee's and a Fan's Life

Rotten apples

Summary: Guest post from a person whose name we keep anonymous

I give my permission for anyone to freely post, publish or distribute this information in the hopes it may prevent others from being exploited by Apple Management in the future. The only thing that I ask is to please send me a link so I can see where you post or publish this to:

If you would like any further information or details, you may contact me at

Here is the case info:

Filed: August 4, 2009 0:2009cv61183 Updated: August 5, 2009 05:45:57

Plaintiff: [anonymised] Defendant: Apple, Inc. Presiding Judge: Judge William J. Zloch Referring Judge: Magistrate Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum Cause Of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Court: Florida > Southern District Court Type: Labor > Plaintiff

Here is the story:

I expect many people are curious why I sued Apple (filed 8/4/2009). The short answer is that I and the rest of the Genius Team were exploited by the assistant manager, Steven Commander to make his “productivity” look better. When I made this known, I was summarily terminated after a case was “created” against me.

“I helped thousands of customers at the Genius Bar with an almost perfect NPS score of 100%. (NPS is a management tool used by Apple to gauge the loyalty of customer relationships).”I was employed as a MAC Genius at the Galleria Apple Store in Ft. Lauderdeale, Florida from 10/08 – 6/09. By anyone’s account I would be considered an ideal employee. I was never late or sick. I helped thousands of customers at the Genius Bar with an almost perfect NPS score of 100%. (NPS is a management tool used by Apple to gauge the loyalty of customer relationships). Additionally, being fluent in Spanish, I was able to assist the Spanish speaking customers. I always gave over 110% in all my interactions with customers and fellow employees.

When I was initially hired, we were short staffed and I expected that more Geniuses would soon be on board. I quickly learned that this understaffing had been going on for a number of months.

My typical schedule would be at the Genius Bar assisting customers from 12:30 p.m. to close to 9:30 p.m. with an hour for lunch. Immediately upon entering for work I would be told to go to the Genius Bar.

The store closed at 9:00 p.m. but we always had standbys for iPhone repairs and sometimes computers. I never refused service to anyone. I was almost always multitasking, working with 2 and sometimes 3 - 4 customers at once while still maintaining almost 100% customer satisfaction.

When a female customer would enter the store she immediately received “special” attention from Steven Commander. It did not matter that she had no Genius Bar appointment or stand-by position. These added customers further increased our workload.

If we were lucky at the Genius Bar, we would be finished will all the customers by 9:10 to 9:20. Then myself and another Genius had to clean and organize the Genius Bar, replenish printer papers, secure replacement inventory, organize, sort and file the daily paperwork, complete our final daily reports and email the results, clean and organize the Genius Room (as necessary).

We were also supposed to check our company email, stay current on the latest company policies, technology changes/updates and any procedural changes in addition to our more specific responsibilities as “geniuses”. With many times only 10 minutes or less left during my assigned shift, it was humanly impossible to accomplish this workload without “working off the clock” which was encouraged by immediate management.

I was also supposed to be allowed time for further education including Apple Technical Certification but obviously given my schedule this was impossible.

Although we were told no over time, it was understood and encouraged by my fellow team members and our team leader, Rich Chang to “work off the clock” to get our expected work done. Rich was constantly “working off the clock” even working from home on his days off to send email correspondence and make our new schedules.

“Apple had system wide downtime beginning 5/22/09 for 2 days. Everything had to be done manually and written by hand to be entered into the system upon reactivation.”When I was initially hired, there was no store manager (he had gone to open a new store in Dadeland) so I had no one to speak to about “working off the clock” above Steven Commander until Kendall Scrape was hired as the new store manager. It was over a month before I had the chance to speak to Kendall about the “working off the clock” situation. At first Kendall was sympathetic but soon sided with Steven and a case was quickly made against me to support termination. Alan Wu, a fellow team member, helped create the case against me (Do you think that somebody you greet everyday for over 7 months and he never says hello may not like you?) It was a very negative environment. Apple had system wide downtime beginning 5/22/09 for 2 days. Everything had to be done manually and written by hand to be entered into the system upon reactivation. It took most of the next week to sort out all the errors everyone had made and create and correct the paperwork from this downtime. These errors were used as the final piece in the case against me for termination.

As the case against me was created, my many emails to Rich regarding supposed errors were unanswered. I believe Alan Wu actually made changes to some of my documentation with customers to create errors. This was witnessed by several other Geniuses.

In my opinion, this “working off the clock” situation did not need to occur. Apple had and still has no financial problems that would require exploitation of its employees. This situation could have been easily corrected by simply adjusting our schedules, hiring more Geniuses, limiting or eliminating standbys and other means but there was no desire to do so. This extreme workload was obvious to everyone else who worked in the Galleria Apple Store but apparently not to Steven Commander or Rich Chang.

“Apple had and still has no financial problems that would require exploitation of its employees.”I do not blame Apple as a Company. I am one of the original Mac “addicts”. Three weeks after Macs first went on sale in 1984 I bought one. I have personally owned almost every make and model Mac (even a couple of clones).

I was an initial subscriber to MacWorld, MacUser and MacAddict and used to keep every issue (until I moved out of the country). I also attended many of the first MacWorld Expos in San Francisco.

I worked in Mac Retail Sales at Personal Support Computers in Beverly Hills, California and did Mac Phone Sales for Digicore in Van Nuys, California.

Later, I became a Mac consultant to many businesses and individuals specializing in installation/integration of AVID systems, Mac systems and upgrades including software and peripherals.

Yes. I admit it. I am what some refer to as a MacAddict.

On the advice of my attorney, I settled with Apple for payment of a very few hours of overtime from my allegations of “working off the clock”. In addition to being illegal by not paying the overtime “worked off the clock”, Apple avoided paying taxes, unemployment and social security benefits.

“In addition to being illegal by not paying the overtime “worked off the clock”, Apple avoided paying taxes, unemployment and social security benefits.”If you Google my name you will see me on around the first 15 pages as a result of my lawsuit against Apple. I have already lost one potential new job that I know of when the perspective employer Googled me. I never expected this publicity nor desired it. Unfortunately, I guess Google is for life.

I feel I was exploited by Apple Management. I was given virtually no support by my immediate managers. Specifically, Steve Commander, Richard Chang and Kendall Scrape. I have named the specific people involved as my own name has been widely publicized by Google and other search engines.

I left my wife and then 1 €½ year old son in Costa Rica during this time in the hopes of bringing them both to live and start a new life as a family in the U.S.

I did seek other employment after it became apparent that I would be terminated by Apple but given the economic conditions at the time, it was nearly impossible to find another job quickly. I had no more money left so I had to return to Costa Rica.

During this stressful time, my systolic blood pressure shot up to over 200. I visited 2 different cardiologists but was unable to successfully control my blood pressure with medication. I have probably suffered permanent heart damage as a result.

“Thanks Apple, for ruining my life.”My life savings is gone (I had used it to relocate to Florida). My marriage is now in jeopardy (my wife and I are currently living separately). I may lose my house from being unemployed for over 9 months now (unemployment here in Costa Rica is above 20%). My son may never learn English as his native language.

Thanks Apple, for ruining my life.

Oh - I almost forgot. On a positive note, I did get quite a few T shirts.


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