Apple Sued by Ex-Employees Over Gender Pay Disparity

Apple Sued by Ex-Employees Over Gender Pay Disparity

Two women have initiated a class-action lawsuit against Apple in California, alleging that the tech company has been systematically underpaying female employees for the past four years. The lawsuit, which could include up to 12,000 current and former female employees, claims that Apple's compensation and performance evaluation systems discriminate against women.

Nearly 12,000 Female Employees Represented

Central to the complaint is Apple’s past practice of determining starting salaries based on previous salary history, a method that was discontinued in late 2017. The lawsuit contends that this practice perpetuated existing gender pay disparities, as women generally earn less than men in the tech industry.

This method was replaced by asking job applicants for their salary expectations, which the lawsuit argues also has a discriminatory impact. Research has indicated that employees often base their salary expectations on their current or past earnings, which can lead women to undervalue themselves during salary negotiations.

Allegations of Bias in Performance Evaluations

Beyond the issue of pay disparity, the lawsuit alleges bias within Apple’s performance evaluation system. The complaint suggests that subjective criteria like "teamwork" and "leadership" are applied differently to men and women. According to the lawsuit, behaviors rewarded in men might be penalized when exhibited by women, thereby affecting their earning potential.

The plaintiffs are seeking financial compensation for damages linked to alleged pay discrepancies. They are also asking for "declaratory relief," which would be a court order mandating Apple to revise its pay and evaluation practices to ensure fairness. Additionally, they are requesting a jury trial to hear the case.

Previous Allegations Against Apple

These accusations follow similar reports from 2022, where female Apple employees spoke out about experiences of sexual harassment, bullying, and retaliation after filing complaints with HR. One alarming case involved a former legal director who claimed a colleague hacked her devices and issued death threats. Despite reporting the incident to HR, she alleges that no action was taken and that she was ultimately fired.

With this lawsuit, Apple faces significant pressure to address potential systemic gender bias within the company. It remains to be seen how the company will navigate these legal challenges.

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