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Apple Sued for Gender Discrimination

Last week, two current Apple employees filed a class action complaint on behalf of approximately 12,000 female employees in the engineering, marketing, and AppleCare divisions. The suit alleges that Apple’s pay policies violated California’s Equal Pay Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act by systematically paying women lower wages than male employees who perform substantially similar work. The plaintiffs are seeking back pay, interest, and damages.

The women allege that Apple’s hiring practices and performance evaluations aided in creating a wage gap between women and men. The hiring issue in question is Apple’s alleged practice of asking new hires for their pay expectations and using that input to set starting salaries. According to the suit, this practice could seemingly lock-in past pay discrimination. In January of 2018, California made it illegal for employers to ask job candidates about their prior pay but allows employers to ask an applicant his or her “salary expectation for the position for which they are applying.

The lawsuit also claims that the performance evaluations with objectives related to teamwork and leadership tend to reward men and punish women and consequently, evaluations focused on those objectives can affect women’s promotions, bonuses, stock options, and pay increases.