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In class action, Apple employees say tech giant pays women less for same work

Two female employees at Apple offices in California say the company not only systematically pays women less than men but also rewards men for qualities for which women are penalized.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Two women, both of whom have worked for Apple for more than a decade, are suing the tech giant, saying the company systematically pays and rewards women less for performing the same work as men in similar roles.

In a class action filed Thursday in San Francisco County Superior Court, Apple employees Justina Jong and Amina Salgado say that Apple discriminates against women in both pay and hiring practices, including by asking women about their prior pay. With their suit, they seek to represent around 12,000 women currently and formerly employed at Apple.

Jong said that since 2013, she has received lower pay than men performing similar work in retail and marketing at Apple’s Sunnyvale office. She also said she had to keep working with a co-worker who sexually harassed her. 

Salgado, who works in management operations in the Sacramento area, said she's experienced these same pay discrepancies since 2012.

After Salgado complained, she said Apple conducted an internal investigation, found she was owed compensation and gave her a raise. Still, she said she never received back pay for her work in previous years.

The plaintiffs further claim that Apple’s performance evaluation system is biased against women. They say the system leads supervisors to score and reward men for teamwork and leadership while penalizing women for these same qualities.

“This practice has a disparate impact on women, causing them to be paid less than men with similar skills, experience, responsibility and performance,” the two women said in their suit.

The employees also accuse Apple of discriminatory hiring practices. They say the company strategically asks women about pay expectations, perpetuating industrywide gender disparities in compensation.

“Apple systematically paid women lower compensation than men with similar education and experience and assigned women to lower salary levels," the plaintiffs said in court filings. 

Additionally, the employees argue that “raises at Apple perpetuate and widen the gender pay gap because they are based on a percentage of the employees’ existing Apple base salary." In other words: "the longer a woman works at Apple, the larger the gap in compensation she receives compared to similarly situated men."

The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial on a variety of claims, including for alleged violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act as well as unfair and unlawful business practices. They also seek declaratory and injunctive relief along with compensation for themselves and others in similar situations.

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The company has faced accusations of gender discrimination in recent years, including in 2021, when employees organized to share their experiences of inequity, intimidation and abuse within the company's workplaces.

Women still make about 71 cents on the dollar compared with men at the same education level, even after they earn a post-secondary certificate or graduate from a top-tier university, the Census Bureau found this year.

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Categories / Business, Civil Rights, Courts

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