Apple is sued by female employees claiming pay discrimination


Two female employees of Apple Inc filed a lawsuit, claiming that the company ‘systemically’ underpays women for work that is comparable to that of men. The lawsuit aims to represent thousands of additional women who they believe are victims of the same discrimination. — Bloomberg

Apple Inc was sued by two female employees who claim it “systemically” pays women less than their male counterparts for similar work, and who are seeking to represent thousands of other women facing the same alleged discrimination.

They claim that Apple, of Cupertino, California, determined starting salaries before 2018 by asking employees for their compensation history and that this practice “perpetuated historic pay disparities between men and women”.

Then, when California outlawed the practice, the iPhone maker started asking for salary expectations, entrenching the disparity, the women claim.

“Apple’s policy and practice of collecting such information about pay expectations and using that information to set starting salaries has had a disparate impact on women, and Apple’s failure to pay women and men equal wages for performing substantially similar work is simply not justified under the law,” Joe Sellers, a lawyer at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC representing the employees, said in a statement.

Glimpse of a W-2

The two employees, Justina Jong and Amina Salgado, also claim that in performance reviews, men at Apple routinely get higher scores on teamwork and leadership, resulting in lower bonuses and pay for the women.

Jong realised she was being paid about US$10,000 (RM47,135) less than a male colleague only after she saw his W-2 form on the office printer, according to the statement.

A representative of Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the suit, filed Thursday in California state court.

Lawsuits claiming pay discrimination against women in the tech industry have sometimes ended in substantial settlements that nonetheless can work out to a paycheck or two per person. The lawyers who filed Thursday’s suit include those who have brought similar claims against Oracle Corp and Google and won average per-person payouts of US$3,750 (RM17,675) and US$5,500 (RM25,924), respectively, after legal costs.

12,000 Employees

Jong and Salgado filed the suit on behalf of more than 12,000 current and former female employees in Apple’s engineering, marketing and AppleCare divisions in California. They have both worked at Apple for more than a decade, according to the complaint.

Salgado complained to Apple about the pay disparity a “number of times” but, despite conducting its own investigation, Apple didn’t raise her salary until a third-party probe concluded there was a pay gap between her and her male counterparts, according to the complaint. She didn’t receive back pay, according to her lawyers.

Jong and Salgado are seeking unspecified wages they say they are owed. – Bloomberg

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