ECONOMY & WORK
MONEY 101
NEWS
PERSONAL FINANCE
NET WORTH
About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.
MARKETREALIST.COM / NEWS

Apple Allegedly Paid Women Less Than Men for Similar Work, Now They Are Suing It for Discrimination

If Apple loses, the company could owe thousands in back pay to 12,000 current and former female employees.
PUBLISHED JUN 20, 2024
Cover Image Source: The Apple logo is displayed at the Apple Store | Getty Images | Photo by Eric Thayer
Cover Image Source: The Apple logo is displayed at the Apple Store | Getty Images | Photo by Eric Thayer

Two female employees sued Apple last week alleging gender pay discrimination, harassment, and four other violations. Justina Jong and Amina Salgado filed the class-action suit in California which alleges that Apple is paying women less than male employees for "substantially similar" work. The two employees claim the gender pay gap is “willful” and “systematic” due to Apple’s policies, as reported by PC Mag, citing court papers.



 

The class-action lawsuit alleges that Apple violated the California Equal Pay Act. In 2018, the act made it illegal for employers to ask job candidates about their pay expectations. However, the lawsuit alleges that Apple circumvented the law by asking new hires about their pay expectations instead of histories. The lawsuit alleges that it is essentially the same as asking about prior pay.

The complaint claims that studies have shown that pay expectations are highly correlated with prior pay. Further, the suit alleges that Apple used this information to set starting salaries which led to women getting lower pay rates compared to men who did similar work.

The exterior of the downtown Apple Store | Getty Images | Photo by George Rose
The exterior of the downtown Apple Store | Getty Images | Photo by George Rose

Salgado, who has served in several roles at Apple since 2012, registered numerous complaints with the company regarding the wage gap, according to the lawsuit. Following the complaints, Apple hired a third-party firm to investigate. In late 2023, the firm found that Salgado was indeed paid less than her male counterparts. To compensate, Apple increased Salgado’s pay but refused to back pay for past years where she was paid less than men.

The other plaintiff, Justina Jong who works as a customer and technical training instructor, claimed that she once saw a W2 form of a male colleague and realized he was paid substantially more than her.

“I noticed that he was being paid almost $10,000 more than me, even though we performed substantially similar work. This revelation made me feel terrible,” Jong said in a statement, as reported by CNN.

The lawsuit further accuses Apple of discriminatory review practices as well. The suit alleges that Apple’s performance evaluation system is biased against women. In categories such as teamwork and leadership, men are rewarded and women are penalized for the same behaviors, the complaint alleges.

 A view of the Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple Park | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan
A view of the Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple Park | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan

The discrimination in evaluation scores has further contributed to the pay gap as the bonuses, Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), and pay increases at Apple, are linked to the evaluation system, the plaintiffs allege.

In the lawsuit, Jong also alleged that Apple forced her to work in a hostile environment. Jong alleges that she was forced to sit next to a co-worker who had previously sexually harassed her. Upon requesting her manager to move her desk, Jong’s "willingness to perform her job and collaborate" with the colleague was allegedly "questioned." Jong was allegedly advised to be professional, respectful, and collaborative and her request for a non-hostile workplace was ignored, the complaint said as per an Ars Technica report. Jong says the experience caused her "profound emotional distress and mental anguish” including PTSD, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

The lawsuit claims that the class members are entitled to compensation from Apple for suffering the loss of fair wages. The Ars Technica report estimates that Apple may owe a massive amount in back pay and other damages if the women win. It could lead to all 12,000 class members receiving the compensation. Apple could also face hundreds in civil penalties.

This isn’t the first time a major tech company has faced legal challenges for alleged gender discrimination. Back in 2018, Google forked out $118 million to settle a class action gender discrimination lawsuit, per CNN.



 

Earlier this year, Oracle America agreed to pay $25 million to settle a severe year-long-running class action suit which accused the company of paying 4,000 female employees less than their male counterparts for the same work.

POPULAR ON MARKET REALIST
MORE ON MARKET REALIST