Apple ex-employees file ageism, gender discrimination lawsuit: report

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Two former Apple employees have lodged lawsuits against the tech giant, alleging ageism, sexism and other discriminatory practices in the company. 

Employees last month launched #AppleToo, a campaign to gather and share current and past employees’ experiences of inequity, intimidation and abuse in the company. The two ex-employees have gone a step further by taking legal action. 

Former high-level engineer Catherine Vartuli alleges that Apple discriminated and retaliated against her after she discovered and informed her manager that she was being paid less than half what her male peers earned, Business Insider reported.

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Vartuli filed her lawsuit in late June in Santa Clara County, but it went unreported until #AppleToo started to gain attention. 

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Finance director Bernadette Alexander in February sued Apple, alleging ageism and retaliation. Alexander claimed a number of incidents over the past few years, such as instructions in 2017 from a new manager who told her, "I hire nothing but young people. They are hungry and fast and cheaper." 

Then, in 2019, she said her manager told her that her 10-year work anniversary meant it was time for her to be moved out of her position, with three candidates already under consideration and all at least 10 years younger than she was. 

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Vartuli, meanwhile, alleged that she was in a severe minority of women in her department: At meetings, there would be "2 to 5 women out of 30 to 40 people." 

John Winer, a lawyer for both women, said he feels "strongly" that both cases will succeed due to the "blatant" discrimination against his clients. 

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Apple did not respond to a FOX Business request for comment regarding the lawsuits, nor has it formally responded to either lawsuit, but the rise of the #AppleToo may force the company to take action. 

"For too long, Apple has evaded public scrutiny," the workers who launched #AppleToo said in a statement. "When we press for accountability and redress to the persistent injustices we witness or experience in our workplace, we are faced with a pattern of isolation, degradation, and gaslighting." 

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A national labor agency in September opened investigations into two charges against Apple filed by employees, and Apple fired Cher Scarlett, one of the workers at the center of the #AppleToo movement. 

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