back to article Apple exec sues over 'ageist' removal of $800k stock bonus

A 67-year-old director in Apple's Intellectual Property Enforcement unit is suing the company for age discrimination, alleging Apple unfairly took away a special bonus it uses to "retain key employees" in lead positions because of his age. Donald K Shruhan's legal team, citing the infamous internal IBM comms disparaging …

  1. aerogems Silver badge
    Alert

    I've done some contracting work at Apple, and one thing I will say is that, at least at the campus I worked at, their workforce was actually quite a bit older than most other places I've worked. Most people seemed to be in their 40s give or take a decade. Some people were obviously older than that.

    Not saying that this guy's claims don't have merit, just that of all Apple's workers, even just within Silicon Valley, I have personally seen probably only a tiny fraction. However, compared to places like Google, where they have things like beer kegs and ping pong tables set up as perks, and it seems rare to see someone much over their 30s, Apple's workforce is quite a bit more mature.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      If that 67 year old worked at IBM he would have been pushed out 15 years ago.

    2. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
      Facepalm

      In their 40s, eh? Bloody ancient, right?

      GJC

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      "I've done some contracting work at Apple"

      You've probably just breached your NDA posting that. Watch out. Fruit suit incoming?

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Yeah... I don't really know anything people would find interesting. I don't get anywhere near the fun stuff, though what I do is something a lot of people would be upset about if I didn't do it.

    4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Irrelevant

      The point of the suit is that he's never told Apple when he intends to retire. There is no mandatory retirement in the US in general. Mandatory retirement at a set age was abolished in 1986 by an amendment to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). There are some exceptions for occupations that have high physical fitness requirements, such as military personnel and airline pilots.

      One of my best Systems Engineers is 74 and had no plans to retire anytime soon. I will turn 66 soon and I plan to work well into my 70's. Apple should settle, as if he can document his claims, they don't stand a chance.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foot. Shot....

    Am I the only one that thinks his chance's of getting any further RSUs are pretty much NULL?

    1. Steve Kerr

      Re: Foot. Shot....

      From the looks of it, all future RSUs are already NULL as looking behind the scenes, they're trying to manage him out.

      So yeah, he's suing for ageism.

      1. Dave@Home

        Re: Foot. Shot....

        Weirdly I saw a post just today on an anonymous network site called Blind

        An Apple employee (albeit a lot younger than this) got a decent review but no RSU's and was confused.

        The consensus was that they were effectvely flagging they didn't want to keep them and being awarded no RSU's was their way of saying "go away, please"

        https://www.teamblind.com/post/Devastated-by-my-comp-review-nZK0ftqY

        1. Alex Stuart

          Re: Foot. Shot....

          The entitlement is strong from that one. 'Devastated' by a mere 10% pay rise to $230,000 and 8% bonus during a recession.

  3. Sgt_Oddball

    Is retirement in the USA

    Mandatory when you reach retirement age? No? Then don't assume unless the employee signals their intent to retire.

    Running the assumption that they are and removing any encouragement to stay is certainly ageist. Be interesting to see how this washes out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is retirement in the USA

      My late father in law did not want to retire as he enjoyed his work. When he went to HR to enquite how this whole retirement thing worked he was met with bafflement: HR had as yet retired anyone else either, so his question if he could just continue to work was met with relief :).

      Sadly he contracted cancer a while later and passed away at 67, but like him I can't see myself really retiring. I'll spend more time doing other things, but I like my work - I'll just get more holidays in between :).

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Is retirement in the USA

      Mandatory retirement at a set age was abolished in 1986 by an amendment to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Older employees are a pain in the arse.

    Not only are they much less susceptible to corporate bullshit (because they can just retire). They also demoralise younger wage slaves by being living proof of how things used to be.

    1. My-Handle

      Re: Older employees are a pain in the arse.

      They're also a bit less susceptible to corporate bullshit because they've usually seen it all before, often several times over. That "corporate bullshit" => English gets very big and well exercised.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Older employees are a pain in the arse.

      Pretty immune to the corporate BS dont you mean.. we've seen all the lies used to try and get the work done cheaply.... and then get the youngsters going "We developed <super method> of getting things done" only to be told "yeah we used that method 20 years ago until we made something 20% faster and 30% cheaper"

      I do try to sugar coat the let down..... but hey its about the only fun us oldies have (along with annoying the hell out of everyone by pretending to be deaf)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Older employees are a pain in the arse.

        I actually enjoy teaching the younglings. The more intelligent ones quickly realise that there is a lot to learn and once you have their attitude adjusted it's quite fun to form a team and see it grow into something bigger than just the sum of its members. If you could tap that energy there would not be an energy shortage.

        It helps if you have kids, it's not that different. The only challenge is fighting off the entitled twats that had their way bought through University and have been brought up thinking the world owes them something, but thankfully I now have the job of filtering out the idiots. Very enjoyable indeed :).

    3. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Older employees are a pain in the arse.

      Well, yes, we do try to be. We are also extremely good value for money, good at our jobs, and very, very good at hiding the bodies of younger co-workers who irritate us. Be afraid.

      GJC

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Older employees are a pain in the arse.

      The older ones are an excellent source of education for the young ones who come in thinking they know it all. The truly bright ones are quick to realise they (a) have a way to go and (b) can use the more senior people to learn what they need to know, the dumb ones are best let go - they will end up being consultants or work for Microsoft (if the quality of their code is anything to judge by).

  5. chivo243 Silver badge
    Alert

    Dark and horrifying place...

    Hr@Apple... Almost as horrible as Legal@Apple.... two insurmountable mountains to conquer for this unlucky soul.

  6. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    Tim Cook is 61

    Lets see if he gets RSUs in 3 years' time

  7. Daedalus

    Won't somebody tell them?

    Pissing off people who know where you bury the bodies is a bad idea. IP enforcement? Do these people have any idea what goes on there?

  8. Schnauzer

    Discrimination: Bad for business

    “We thought you were going to retire” is a familiar, piss-poor cover for blatant discrimination. It ranks with “the hallway’s not wide enough for a wheelchair,” “your hairstyle violates our grooming standards” and “your lifestyle doesn’t fit our traditional values.”

    The Plaintiff is a manager in Apple’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Unit, a haven for pussycats and pushovers. Perfect place to start “right-aging” their workforce.

  9. LybsterRoy Silver badge

    Maybe I missed it but what does his contract say about RSU's Is he entitled or is it discretionary? If the latter what is Apple telling him?

    At one point in my career I worked in a company where everyone got a cost of living increase and a merit increase. One individual (a management accountant) used to arrive late, leave dead on time, wasn't overly competent. He received cost of living with 0% merit increase. Didn't improve his performance but did leave. Maybe its the same here?

    1. DevOpsTimothyC

      Most employment contracts I've seen are generally "See HR handbook for bonuses, incentives and pension plans"

      It's also quite hard for a company to argue that certain parts of it's workforce don't qualify for ad-hoc discretionary or incentive awards if those parts of the workforce are legally protected from discrimination.

  10. pimppetgaeghsr

    I'm glad people are calling out Apple on their crap publicly and reminding them that their cult is no longer working and people spit out the koolaid the minute they leave the building.

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