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Apple Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Gender-Based Pay Discrimination

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 18, 2024

Apple Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Gender-Based Pay Discrimination

A lawsuit filed this week in California alleges that Apple has engaged in discriminatory pay practices, specifically underpaying female employees based on a system that predates 2017.

The legal action claims that Apple’s hiring policies were based on applicants’ previous salaries rather than the company’s own internal minimum salary guidelines, a practice that may violate state labor laws. This lawsuit is significant in its scope, covering nearly 12,000 female employees across various departments within Apple.

The complaint details how Apple’s former policy of determining starting salaries based on an individual’s pay expectations, usually slightly higher than their most recent compensation, has perpetuated historical pay disparities. As a result, women at Apple were consistently offered lower starting salaries than their male counterparts for performing substantially similar work. This ongoing issue hinges on the principles of California’s equal pay, employment, and unfair business practice laws. The latter claims are specifically limited to a four-year period.

Bias in Apple’s Performance Reviews

Additionally, the lawsuit accuses Apple of having discriminatory review practices that adversely affect female employees. According to the complaint, Apple’s performance evaluation system unfairly targets women by using biased criteria that negatively score women for behaviors that are rewarded when exhibited by men, particularly in categories such as teamwork and leadership

The lawsuit highlights that these biased evaluations are directly linked to employee compensation, influencing bonuses, Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), and potential salary increases.

Apple’s Response to the Accusations

In defense, an Apple spokesperson stated to the Wall Street Journal that since 2017, the company has maintained gender pay equity, achieved through regular assessments and adjustments by an independent third-party expert.

This response comes amid wider criticisms facing leaders in the tech industry, including SpaceX’s Elon Musk and OpenAI’s Sam Altman, who have been accused of fostering toxic work environments, with allegations against Musk involving inappropriate behavior with employees.

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Featured Image courtesy of Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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