JK Scheinberg worked as an engineer at Apple for 21 years. He has been widely credited for persuading Steve Jobs to switch Macs off of PowerPC to Intel. He retired in 2008. He was bored. Mr. Scheinberg decided to get a part-time job and he applied to work at Apple’s Genius Bar. The Genius Bar is a service offered to Apple users who either need repairs or some help on using their products. Mr. Scheinberg, with his more than 20 years of software experience as an engineer at Apple, would certainly seem to be well qualified for the position. However, most Genius Bar employees are young.
Mr. Scheinberg went on a group interview for the position. Interviewers noted that he was much older than the other candidates. Three of the interviewers told Mr. Scheinberg that they would be in touch. He never heard back from them. Many tech reporters have suggested that this failure to hire Mr. Scheinberg was a glaring example of age discrimination. Business Insider wrote, “It is unlikely that anyone is more qualified to work at an Apple store than Scheinberg.” Gizmodo wrote “Apple customers would’ve have been lucky to have Scheinberg as their tech support.”
After the article ran in New York Times, Mr. Scheinberg tweeted, “Wonder if Apple will finally give me a callback on that genius bar interview. #ageism.”