Apple employees sue saying female workers are ‘systematically’ paid less than men

Apple employees sue saying female workers are ‘systematically’ paid less than men

Apple “systematically” underpaid women compared to their male counterparts, a potential class action lawsuit from a pair of employees alleges.

The suit, filed in San Francisco state court on Thursday, argues that the tech giant’s hiring practices and performance-review system both lead to women being paid less than men for the same work.

The action alleges that more than 12,000 current and former Apple employees could qualify as part of the lawsuit if it’s certified.

One of the plaintiffs, Justina Jong, said she was motivated to join the suit when she found a male co-worker’s W2 tax form left on a printer and saw he was being paid substantially more for similar work.

“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.

The lawsuit argues that the discrepancies begin in the hiring process.

Prior to 2018, the company allegedly asked prospective hires about their previous salaries to set pay levels. Following a state law barring the practice, Apple then began asking candidates to share salary expectations as a benchmark.

Both systems, according to the suit, yield lower salaries for women.

“If you do pay women less, you can’t defend it by saying they were willing to take less money,” said James Finberg, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys., told The Wall Street Journal.

Apple maintains it has achieved pay equity since 2017.

The Independent has contacted the company for comment.

The suit also alleges that the company’s performance review system is biased and gives men inflated scores on subjective metrics like teamwork and leadership.

In 2022, female Apple employees told The Financial Times they were victims of sexual abuse and bullying, and met with an apathetic response from the company’s HR department. (In response to the investigation, the company said at the time it thoroughly investigates all misconduct allegations and strives to create “an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting any issues.”)

The year before, employees launched the #AppleToo campaign to raise awareness about what they said was discrimination, racism, and sexism at the company, modeling their efforts on the larger #MeToo movement and its emphasis on exposing gender-based abuse in a variety of settings.

Apple isn’t the first major tech company to be hit with such a suit.

In 2022, Google paid $118m to settle a class-action suit accusing it of pay discrimination against female employees.

This year, Oracle paid $25m to settle an equal pay case of its own.