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Friday May 27, 2011 2:42 pm

Apple being sued for racial discrimination at NYC Upper West Side Apple Store

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Corporate News

Apple Store Upper West Side

Two African-American men have filed a federal lawsuit against Apple that accuses the company of racial discrimination at an Apple Store in Manhattan.

The plaintiffs, Brian Johnston, 34, and Nile Charles, 25, claim a white Apple employee in his 50s told them, "I don't want 'your kind' hanging out in the store" at Apple's retail outlet at 1981 Broadway on Dec. 9, 2010, according to court filings cited by Apple Insider Wednesday.

Another Apple Store employee allegedly approached the pair, who were wearing "baggy jeans and large sweaters with hoods" according to the lawsuit, and said, "Now you have to go. If you want to know why, it's because I said so. Consider me God. You have to go."

Johnston and Charles entered the Upper West Side store to purchase headphones, the suit said. They recorded the incident on their cell phones, according to Apple Insider.

The first, unidentified employee, reportedly about 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, confronted the pair at about 3:20 p.m., the plaintiffs alleged. The employee allegedly approached Johnston and Charles in an "intimidating fashion" and invaded their "personal space," saying, "You know the deal. You know the deal."

He then allegedly demanded they leave the store unless they were purchasing a product or seeing a Mac Specialist, the suit claims.

"And before you say I'm racially discriminating against you, let me stop you. I am discriminating against you. I don't want 'your kind' hanging out in the store," the employee allegedly told Johnston and Charles.

The plaintiffs were "shocked and humiliated" by the allegedly discriminatory treatment they experienced at the Apple Store.

The suit also alleges that the Apple Store's head of security ignored their request to speak to a manager about the incident.

The lawsuit was filed in February but only spotted by Apple Insider this week when it was moved from New York state court to U.S. District Court.

One commenter on Gawker, which also reported the story, wryly joked that "[y]ou can't expect employees at the Apple Store to be PC."

This article, written by Damon Poeter, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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