Major tech giant Apple Inc. has come under scrutiny for leaked emails, which describe a toxic, hostile, and sexist workplace. Incidences of gender discrimination, sexual assault, and harassment are not uncommon in a company’s culture, especially when it comes to the technology sector. The Cupertino-based multinational consumer company is not the only place where employees have reported this type of work environment.
Mic, a leading news and media company that targets millennials, provides numerous instances where Apple employees tell stories of uncomfortable situations faced while working for the tech giant.
One engineer at Apple who works on a male-dominated team remembered a time “when men on her team began to joke that an office intruder was coming to rape everybody.” “Rape jokes in work chat is basically where I completely draw the limit,” the engineer wrote in an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “I do not feel safe at a company that tolerates individuals who make rape jokes.” No reply was reported.
A former Apple employee spoke of experiences that ultimately led her to “trad[e] her position at one of the world’s most iconic companies in favor of a job riding a bicycle.” She felt extreme discomfort as the only woman in attendance at a meeting where “[t]he conversation turned to all of the men being dismissive about their wives and their significant others. [She] felt very uncomfortable of the reality that [she] was the only woman in the room as all of my male coworkers stereotyped women as nags and this was not countered by [her] manager as being inappropriate.”
It is an unfortunate fact of life in much of Silicon Valley: women are fighting barriers to entry in a male-dominated field. Even as women make significant headway in a diverse range of fields from law to medicine, the New York Times observed the doors to the technology field “remain virtually closed to women.” At many tech companies in Silicon Valley and nationwide, only a tiny fraction of the technical staff — 2% to 4% in some cases — are women.
While the tech industry is “famous for its bravado about changing the world,” the Los Angeles Times commented in an article on sexism in Silicon Valley, it “still lags decades behind other industries in its treatment of women, many of whom say they routinely confront sexism in the companies where they work and at the technology conferences they attend.”
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We also represent employees who “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing by their employers as well as in other cases alleging violations of the law. We represented technical, creative, and other salaried employees in a ground-breaking, successful class action against Apple, Google, Intel, and other prominent Silicon Valley companies that challenged practices suppressing the pay of technical, creative, and other salaried employees and resulted in an unprecedented $435 million settlement for the affected workers.
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