Apple employee discrimination lawsuit against company will proceed

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Apple Park (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • A female Apple engineer from India is suing Apple over claims she was discriminated against at work.
  • Anita Nariani Schulze says managers micromanaged her, excluded her from meetings, deprived her of bonuses, and criticized her.
  • A lawsuit against the company alleges her two managers discriminated against her on multiple grounds.

A lawsuit filed against Apple by a female engineer from India over claims of workplace discrimination will proceed, a judge in California has ruled.

As reported by Bloomberg, Apple is being sued by Anita Nariani Schulze, a female engineer from India:

Apple Inc. lost an early round in a discrimination lawsuit brought in the U.S. by a female engineer from India who says her two managers -- one from her country, the other from Pakistan -- treated her as they would in their own countries: as a subservient.

The report says that Schulze is "part of the Sindhi minority", a Hindu with ancestry traced back to the Sindh region of what is now Pakistan. In her suit against the company, Schulze claims that two of her managers, one from India and the other Pakistan, "consistently excluded her from meetings while inviting her male counterparts, criticized her, micromanaged her work, and deprived her of bonuses, despite positive performance evaluations and significant team contributions." The background filing for the case claims that Schulze's managers "knew of and were familiar with her racial, national, and religious heritage", stating "their respective nationalities historically viewed women as subservient, and they treated Ms. Schulze as subservient."

The report continues:

Schulze claims the managers' animus reflects sexism, racism, religious bias and discrimination on the basis of national origin. The Sindhi Hindu nationality is "known for its technical acumen" and its gender equality, she says, which "exacerbated the managers' discriminatory treatment."

The court filing also claims that Schulze was told by her managers "that she needed to be more involved in her employment and that the reason she was not more involved was because she had children." Yet the filing states Schulze received positive performance reviews, and she was the engineer directly responsible for the Zero Shutter Lag effect found in the iPhone. It is alleged that Apple responded to HR complaints Schulze was being discriminated against by issuing her poor performance reviews and placing her on an internal "do not hire list" as well as the company's performance review plan. Schulze resigned from Apple on February 12, 2019.

A Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge declined Apple's request to have the case thrown out. The company says that her claims were not specific enough, and were based on stereotypes, however, judge Sunil R. Kulkarni found Schulze "had adequately supported her legal claims". In a blow to Schulze's case, however, the judge declined a request that she be allowed to represent female Apple employees who were also subjected to discrimination in a class-action lawsuit, with the judge ruling the court was not shown a pattern of discrimination.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9