Friday, July 19, 2024

Apple underpaid female employees through two policies – lawsuit

A class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 12,000 current and former staff claims that Apple underpaid female employees over a four-year period.

The lawsuit said that while the Cupertino company didn’t do this deliberately, it had two policies in place which led to this result …

Engadget reports that Apple has used two different ways to help determine the salary offers made to candidates.

Up until the summer of 2017, Apple asked candidates the salary they were paid in their current role, and based its offer on some improvement on this number. The problem with this is that if a female employee was underpaid in her previous role, then Apple would be perpetuating the differential in her new salary.

Apple recognized this problem, and ceased asking the question. Recruiters instead asked about candidate’s salary expectations, and based their offer on this. However, the Californian lawsuit alleges that this too perpetuates salary differentials, because studies show that candidates tend to base this number on some increase from their current salary.

The lawsuit alleges that both of these practices led to lower pay rates for women in the workplace. It also claims the latter policy of asking prospective employees for their pay expectations is “highly correlated with prior pay; studies show that persons asked for pay expectations generally provide a number slightly higher than the pay at their current or last job.”

The pay policy for job applicants created a pattern of lower pay for female employees, the lawsuit alleges: “Apple’s policy or practice of collecting information about pay expectations and using that information to set starting salary has had the effect of perpetuating past pay disparities and paying women less than men performing substantially similar work.”

The suit also claims that men and women were scored differently for the same behaviors during performance evaluations.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple has violated the California Equal Pay Act among other things, and seeks compensation for the alleged underpayments, as well as penalties and interest.

The issue previously arose back in 2021, when an employee-run internal survey revealed a pay differential of 6% between men and women in the same roles. Apple responded by banning any further internal employee surveys.

Photo by ThisisEngineering on Unsplash

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