December 8, 2009


Question: What is the degree of risk of an employer being sued if its employee gets debilitating headaches using glossy Apple Mac computers?

Can an employer get sued if an employee gets debilitating eyestrain and headaches from being compelled to use Apple Macintosh computers that only come with glossy screens (no matte option).

European regulation about screens used for computer workstations, states: “Workstations shall be so designed that … no direct glare and, as far as possible, no reflections on the screen.”

Queensland University warned their employees about risk of high gloss Apple Mac screens:

If sued, surely employers would struggle to claim they did not know that glossy Mac screens produce eyestrain and headaches, at least in some employees. Not long ago, it was considered good employer practice to get anti-glare screens for their employees. How, then, does that compare with employers who compel employees to use ultra-glossy Apple Mac screens for work?

See anecdotes on this website where numerous Apple Mac users tell stories of suffering from eyestrain and headaches as a direct result of the glossy screens found on current Apple Mac computers – although such injuries may take years to become debilitating.

For an employer, even if the risk is small, can it be said there is zero risk of being sued? If so, should employers think twice about getting glossy-screen Macs for their employees to use?

Of course, many users love glossy screens – but many do not because of eyestrain. For an employer to get sued, it does not take 100% of its employees to get injured. It only takes a few employees to get seriously injured. Hence, I am not getting into the debate of glossy vs. matte preference. Rather, I am asking a focused question: for those employees who get eye injury from long-term use of glossy Mac computers, can they sue their employers?

Is there any liability for Apple in refusing to offer matte screens on their desktop Mac computers?

EDITOR’S NOTE: For comments on this page, please limit comments to the subject – Can Apple Be Sued? Any comments that are off topic will be transferred by the editor to the main

3 Responses to “can Apple be sued?”

  1. 1 hunts
    February 13, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Tying to hold a company responsible for glossy screens and their adverse effects is going to be difficult. It’s not just Apple – it’s the whole computer industry, TV makers and the LCD manufacturers too who make the panels and who are no longer applying the matte film as they are not getting enough orders for them.

    HP (who bought Compaq) was the first to come out with glossy displays. They cited a survey they took that people PREFERRED the glossy over the dull matte displays.

    Apple naturally responded, as all the other PC makers, by having their screens “oh shiny” like all the others. Their sales have taken off with the glossy displays because Apple sells luxury computers that invoke a 90% chance of an impulse sale – shiny objects sell well.

    So what to do? Well, the government might have to take action to protect the eyes of people who might not suffer immediate problems with glossy screens, but could have problems later, like myself and others. There is anti-glare glass, with has a 1% surface reflective rate. It costs more, naturally. Also, something will have to be done about the glossy LCD panels themselves, so it’s a two step process.

    Non-matte LCD panels are cheaper, so is just plain glass and acrylic without anti-reflective properties.

    I believe only government action across the entire industry will force the change people need for their own good. Otherwise, people will just suffer or think that their eyestrain is acceptable, which it isn’t.

  2. 2 T.
    January 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Hunts, suing the entire industry means that governments could have an impact. Unfortunately, the real check shows us that governments and companies may be quite close.

    Coming from another angle: what is the reaction of ophthalmologists syndicates, ophthalmologist-specialized literature, medical newspapers and specialized reviews? For me that could be a better and faster solution: if the medical body began to have doubts on glossy screens, then sales of computers will be slow, then it necessitate a reaction from the companies. And knowing that eyestrain is not just a word but a real recognized pain, that could work on that way.

  3. 3 fsticks
    July 20, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Glossy screens are so annoying. I’m getting angry typing on this shitty MacBook. I’m never buying a “premium” laptop ever again. The reason I put up with this is because I invested so much into it. Why buy premium when a standard issue will get the job done, I can simply copy my files onto a separate drive and toss it when I get tired of it. Also, the newer Macs don’t even lead in technology anymore, so I don’t see the point in getting a new one after this. I see Lenovo, Samsung and LG making a TON of progress!

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