Apple Park photo of the side of the main buildingSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • An Apple Park contractor will pay $1.25 million to eight Black former employees.
  • Its over claims the company failed to act after employees were racially harassed.
  • A report says that swastikas and racial epithets were drawn on Apple Park construction toilets, and a noose was found at a worksite.

An Apple Park contractor will pay $1.25 million to eight Black former employees over claims it failed to act against racial harassment of its employees whilst the project was built.

As reported by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August:

A San Jose-based electrical subcontractor at the Apple Park construc­tion project, Air Systems Inc. (ASI), will pay $1,250,000 to eight African American former employees and provide other relief to settle a racial harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

Air Systems Inc. was a subcontractor on Apple's Apple Park project, its space-age headquarters in Cupertino. According to the report, racial harassment of employees reportedly included "racist graffiti of swastikas and racial epithets drawn on the walls of the Apple Park construction project's portable toilets, as well as a noose at the worksite, hung next to a scrawled note containing expletives and a threat of lynching." There was no indication as to who might have been responsible.

The EEOC also says that the company failed to respond when two Black employees stated "that a white coworker had taunted them with racial pejoratives."

Air Systems was charged with violating the Civil Rights Act and will pay $1.25 million in damages to the employees. The company is also reviewing its policies and will train employees on the prevention and reporting of racial harassment.

The EEOC's district director for San Francisco said

"While a construction worksite may raise issues over who controls conditions, this case should send a clear message that whether an employer is a subcontractor or the general contractor, all employers have a duty to take prompt, effective action to stop harassment and hate speech in the workplace.

In this period of national reckoning on the persistence of racial discrimination, we're glad that Air Systems agreed to settle this matter and provide significant relief to these workers."

Company president Art Williams said Air Systems had "a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment" and that upon learning of the allegations "initiated a comprehensive investigation and took swift corrective actions."

Apple Park was completed in 2018 and was designed in partnership with long-time Apple architect Foster + Partners.