Former Apple engineer J K Scheinberg, best known as the man who persuaded Steve Jobs to migrate the Mac from PowerPC to Intel processors in 2005, was rejected from a job at the Apple store. According to a New York Times op-ed about workplace biases and age discrimination, Scheinberg, said he applied to work at the Genius Bar as a customer support representative thinking he would be a good fit for the position.
However, the retired engineer, who spent 21 years working for the Cupertino company, did not get the job.
"I'm lucky enough to get my tech support from J K Scheinberg, the engineer at Apple who led the effort that moved the Mac to Intel processors," author Ashton Applewhite wrote in the editorial citing Scheinberg as an example of age discrimination in the workplace. "A little restless after retiring in 2008, at 54, he figured he'd be a great fit for a position at an Apple store Genius Bar, despite being twice as old as anyone else at the group interview.
"'On the way out, all three of the interviewers singled me out and said, 'We'll be in touch,' " he said. 'I never heard back.'"
Known for employing younger staff in its stores, Scheinberg's case isn't the only allegation of age discrimination against the tech giant.
In 2010, then 60-year-old former Mac Specialist Michael Katz sued Apple for age discrimination, alleging that the company promoted individuals that he claimed were less senior and qualified for the role of Creative at the Orlando, Florida Apple retail store he worked at from 2006 to 2007.
After leaving the job in 2007, Katz filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human Relations. The EEOC found "reasonable cause" that Katz was denied a promotion due to his age in 2009.
The same year, then 22-year-old Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg famously said: "Young people are just smarter."
In the past, Apple, Dropbox, Yahoo and gaming developer-publisher Electronic Arts have listed openings with the phrase "new grad" as a preference. In 2014, Forbes found that multiple employers, particularly in the technology, media and advertising sectors, swapped the phrase with the term "digital natives" listed as a requirement in their job postings, which many experts say raise age bias concerns.
Given Silicon Valley's long-running reputation of ageism in the tech industry, many firms have been slapped with age discrimination lawsuits. In 2015, Google was sued by a 64-year-old engineer in the US accusing the tech giant of not hiring him due to his age. More recently in August, four former employees of Hewlett Packard filed a class action lawsuit against Hewlett-Packard for age discrimination, claiming that the company's goal since 2012 was "to make the company younger".