Apple has come up with a first-of-its-kind employee-conduct policy that prohibits discrimination based on caste. While the policy was already in place about two years ago, it was made public recently. Though most companies do have anti-discriminatory policies at work, this is probably the first time that a company has actually focussed on the issue of caste-based discrimination and used the word ‘caste’ specifically in its policies.
That is not all, Apple has even begun offering training to employees, especially those in the US who are mostly unaware of the Indian caste system, so that they understand these policies well.
The policy was updated by Apple in 2020, when Cisco Systems was sued by an engineer belonging to a lower caste, who alleged that two of his seniors — who belonged to a higher caste — were purposely hindering the progress of his career. That was probably the first case of caste-based discrimination that an employment regulator had witnessed in the US. Till then, the general opinion was that casteism existed only in India.
Ever since the lawsuit was filed, employee associations across the US have been demanding that the legislation on discrimination in the US be updated and have been demanding that organisations alter their policies to prevent caste-based discrimination.
It is reported that IBM had also updated / modified its employee policies and rules to include ‘caste’, which was earlier only part of the policies for India teams.