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Proposed class action lawsuit accuses Apple of underpaying women

Apple Park is meant to host a diverse and equal workforce

According to a new class action lawsuit in California, Apple allegedly underpaid 12,000 women compared to men despite DEI initiatives.

Gender pay gaps, discrimination, and harassment are all something Apple has said it takes quite seriously. It even launched a dedicated webpage with data available back to 2014 about diversity, though it hasn't been updated since 2022.

However, Apple's dedication to gender equality has come under scrutiny with a new class action lawsuit filed in California. According to a report from Reuters, two women who have worked at Apple for over a decade have filed the lawsuit claiming Apple systematically underpays women in engineering, marketing, and AppleCare divisions.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple illegally bases workers' starting pay on their salaries at previous jobs or their pay expectations. Either way, California has a law since 2018 that prevents employers from asking applicants about their salary history.

Relying on previous or requested salaries leads to the same issue — if a woman were paid less than a man before, they would be again. That's what the law is trying to prevent.

Apple is also accused of preferring men when rewarding employees for having talent, like with raises or bonuses. These biases lead to women who are already underpaid having the gap widen further as their careers advance.

One plaintiff, Justina Jong, has also included a complaint about sexual harassment and Apple's refusal to transfer her away from the offender. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and penalties.

The plaintiffs are represented by Outten & Golden, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, and Altshuler Berzon. These firms have a history of brokering settlements with companies like Goldman Sachs and Sterling Jewelers.