Apple lost an early round in a gender discrimination lawsuit brought in a California state court by a female engineer from India who claims that her two managers — one from India, the other from Pakistan — treated her as they would in their own countries: as a subservient.
Anita Nariani Schulze is part of the Sindhi minority — she is Hindu, with ancestry in the Sindh region of what is now Pakistan. Her complaint alleges that her senior and direct managers, both male, 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.
Schulze claims the managers’ animus reflects sexism, racism, religious bias and discrimination on the basis of national origin…
In a tentative ruling on Wednesday, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Sunil R. Kulkarni rejected Apple’s request to toss out the suit. While not ruling on the merits of the case, Kulkarni said Schulze had adequately supported her legal claims. Apple had argued her claims weren’t specific enough and were based on stereotypes.
But the judge rejected Schulze’s request to represent a class of female Apple employees who suffered job discrimination over the last four years. He agreed with Apple that she didn’t show a pattern of discrimination that could be applied to a broader group.
MacDailyNews Take: Multinational — and, hence, multicultural — corporations like Apple face an exceedingly wide range of challenges, including gender discrimination and other lawsuits.
Cisco currently faces a similar case about which Mark Chandler, Cisco’s Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, blogged in November 2020:
You might have read about a claim brought against Cisco by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on behalf of a current Cisco employee, claiming that the employee (we’ll call him “G.,” not his real initial) was denied opportunities by his manager on the basis of G.’s Indian caste. Because the claim of caste discrimination is novel in the American legal system, it has received a lot of attention…
For those not familiar with the concept of caste, caste refers to a system of dividing society into hereditary classes, some of whom inherit exclusive privileges…
The Cisco investigation was thorough and complete. We found no evidence that G. was discriminated or retaliated against on the basis of caste. G. also had the opportunity to seek a thorough second-level review of the outcome of the initial investigation, which was conducted, and the initial findings of no caste discrimination or retaliation were confirmed. Given our principles, had we found discrimination or retaliation, we would have remediated it, regardless of the fact that there is no legal basis in the US for a claim of caste discrimination.