Apple Sued by Employees Alleging Unequal Pay for Women
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Apple Sued by Employees Alleging Unequal Pay for Women

Lawsuit says company’s hiring and performance-review practices routinely slant toward men

By ERIN MULVANEY
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 7:30amGrey Clock 3 min

Two female Apple employees filed a proposed class-action lawsuit Thursday alleging the company pays women lower salaries than men for similar work.

The suit, filed in a San Francisco state court, targets Apple’s hiring practices used to set compensation, as well as the company’s performance-review policies. It is the latest in a series of pay equity lawsuits against major corporations, including large tech giants, that allege they underpay women and minorities .

The lawsuit seeks to represent a class of 12,000 women employed at Apple across several departments who have worked there since 2020. The plaintiffs allege that the company is violating the California equal pay, employment and unfair business practice laws. The business practice law limits claims to a four-year period.

An Apple spokesman said the company has achieved and maintained gender pay equity since 2017. Apple works with an independent third-party expert to examine team members’ total compensation and makes adjustments where necessary, he said.

Google and Oracle settled similar claims in California in recent years, pushing similar arguments about pay policies for new hires. Google agreed to pay 15,500 women $118 million to settle its case in 2022 and Oracle agreed to pay $25 million for 4,000 female workers earlier this year. The companies didn’t admit wrongdoing.

One of the lead attorneys on those cases is also representing the plaintiffs against Apple.

Central to the new lawsuit is how Apple sets a new hire’s compensation. Before 2018, Apple asked applicants to provide their previous salaries to determine pay, the suit says.

When California passed a 2018 law that banned employers from considering prior pay to set compensation, Apple asked applicants about pay expectations instead, the suit says. The plaintiffs’ lawyers argue that the practice of asking about pay expectations perpetuates gender discrimination because women have historically been paid less than men.

“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.

One of the plaintiffs, Justina Jong, said she discovered a male co-worker’s W2 left behind on a printer in Apple’s Sunnyvale, Calif., branch. Though she had the same responsibilities as her male co-worker, she saw his base salary in the tax filing was $10,000 more than what she made, she said. She discovered the discrepancy several years ago, about midway through her decade-plus career at Apple, where she held several roles in sales, training and marketing.

“I felt terrible and was shocked as well. I saw myself as a hardworking person, and collaborative, providing a lot of solutions for the team,” Jong said in an interview. “I thought to myself, ‘Maybe if I work harder, they will see that I’m worth just as much or more.’”

The lawsuit alleges that when Apple hired Jong in 2013, it paid her the same base salary she earned at her previous job. In the years following, the company never gave her the kind of raise that put her on equal footing with her male peers, the suit says.

Jong said it took her years to decide to challenge the discrepancy and sign onto the lawsuit. She said she was spurred by stories about unequal pay from other women at the company.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Apple faced a rise in employee activism. Apple workers organized to form a group called Apple Too to mirror the #MeToo movement, which gathered stories of discrimination and pushed the company to change its pay practices. The movement led to some retail stores forming unions.

“At Apple we are deeply committed to inclusion and we have a longstanding commitment to pay equity, which is embedded in our approach to compensating our valued team members,” a spokesman for Apple said.

The other named plaintiff, Amina Salgado, has worked at Apple since 2012 in various roles, including as a manager in the AppleCare division in the company’s office near Sacramento. She discovered she was paid less than men in similar roles, and she complained several times about the discrepancy, according to the lawsuit. Apple hired a third party to investigate, and after the report concluded she was right, the company increased her pay. She didn’t get back pay, the lawsuit says.

The suit also claims that Apple uses biased criteria in its performance-review system. Men routinely receive higher ratings for the discretionary categories of leadership and teamwork, leading to better reviews for men, the plaintiffs’ lawyers argue.



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After Pandemic Slowdown, Global Wealth Is Growing Once Again, Led by the U.S.
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The latest edition of an annual UBS wealth report notes that while “the global economy is in the midst of a dramatic structural upheaval,” wealth is growing once again after a downturn through the pandemic.

UBS analyzed income and wealth data from 56 markets, representing “92% of the world’s wealth,” in its Global Wealth Report 2024, released Wednesday. The report’s overarching theme found that global wealth grew by 4.2% in 2023, offsetting a loss of 3% in 2022. Even in the face of continued inflation, adjusted global wealth grew by 8.4%.

However, overall global wealth growth is down, from an annual average of 7% between 2000 and 2010 to just over 4.5% between 2010 and 2023, the report said. This equates to a reduction in global wealth of almost one-third.

The remaining growth seems to be continuing on pace in the world’s most developed and already prosperous nations. In the U.S., average wealth per adult grew by nearly 2.5% and the country accounts for 38%, roughly 22 million, of all millionaires worldwide.

Mainland China came in second with just over 6 million millionaires, followed by 3 million  in the U.K.

The report also took a look at the growing issue of wealth transfer. Over the next 25 years, US$83.5 trillion of global wealth will be transferred to spouses and the next generation. UBS estimates 10% of that will be transferred by women and US$9 trillion will shift between spouses.

Wealth in the Asia-Pacific region grew the most—nearly 177%—since the report began tracking data 15 years ago. The Americas come in second, at nearly 146% growth. Surprisingly, Turkey has enjoyed the most wealth growth per adult of any individual nation in the last 15 years—more than 1,700% in local currency.

The world’s wealthiest class continues to be a small, tightly concentrated group. According to the report, only 12 people hold between US$50 billion and US$100 billion and just 14 people hold US$2 trillion of the world’s wealth. The U.S. and Canada are home to individuals holding 44% of this wealth, while another 25% is held by people in Western Europe.

UBS data suggests that global wealth will continue to grow most in emerging markets, with some countries experiencing millionaire growth of up to 50% over the next five years.

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