Apple confronts inequality based on India’s caste system, The caste system is a sort of discrimination that has its roots in India but has had an impact on staff recruiting in Silicon Valley. A report published today claims that Apple is ahead of most other significant firms in its efforts to combat this form of prejudice.
Even though the caste system is partially reflected in views toward skin color, discrimination based on caste is not made explicitly prohibited by current US legislation. This is despite the fact that the caste system is partially reflected in attitudes toward skin color.
The hierarchical structure of castes
Although we would begin an article such as this one with a clear definition, providing one here would be extremely challenging given the nature of the topic.
The caste system in India has its roots in the time period of approximately 1500 BCE, and scholarly debates regarding its precise beginnings and classifications have been drawn out and remain unresolved to this day. In point of fact, GS Ghurye, who is widely regarded as a founding figure in Indian sociology, stated in 1932 that caste was impossible to describe due to its complexity.
Caste is a term for which we do not have a real general definition. Because of the complexity of the phenomenon, it seems to me that any attempt at definition is certain to fail regardless of how serious the attempt is.
Nevertheless, there are at least links between different shades of skin and different castes.
The color of a person’s skin is not supposed to be related to their caste, but in practice it often is. This is because Dalits are more likely to work in jobs that are physically demanding and expose them to the elements, so their skin tends to be darker and they have a reputation for being “dirtier” than people whose castes are higher.
It is commonly believed that the caste system has altered the manner in which Indians see darker complexion, with a stigma of dark skin associated with the lower castes, in a country that is obsessed with light skin tone. In addition, India is a country that is preoccupied with light skin tone.
Apple expressly forbids any form of caste-based discrimination.
According to a report by Reuters, Apple jumped ahead of its competitors in the technology industry by creating a special policy on caste. Today, it is believed that India is the leading source of qualified foreign workers in the US tech sector.
Apple is emerging as an early leader in plans to free Silicon Valley of a rigid hierarchy that has separated Indians for years. This is happening as America’s software giants are getting a modern-day crash course in India’s old caste system. Apple has been a pioneer in this movement.
Apple, the largest publicly traded business in the world, recently revised its general employee conduct code to specifically ban discrimination on the basis of caste. This category was added to the list of pre-existing categories, which also includes race, religion, gender, age, and ancestry.
The addition of the new category, which has never been discussed before, goes beyond the provisions of existing discrimination statutes in the United States, which do not expressly prohibit casteism.
It is said that Apple first implemented the policy after Cisco was accused of practicing caste-based discrimination.
The state employment agency for the state of California filed a lawsuit against Cisco Systems on behalf of a lower-caste engineer who claimed that two higher-caste managers were preventing him from advancing in his career.
Cisco contended that there was no case to respond since caste is not a legally protected class in California. The company denied that there was evidence of discrimination but also argued that there was no case to answer. The business essentially claimed that, should it so choose, it would be within its legal rights to discriminate on the basis of caste; the matter is currently pending a hearing in court.
Apple took a direct approach to the problem, in contrast to many other technology companies, which are thought to be unsure of how to solve the issue.
After September 2020, Apple’s primary internal policy on workplace conduct will include a reference to caste in the equal employment opportunity and anti-harassment sections. This was viewed by Reuters, which reported that the change will take effect.
Apple has publicly acknowledged that the company “changed the language a couple of years ago to underline that we prohibit discrimination or harassment based on caste.” It was also mentioned that the staff receives training that includes overt references to caste.
According to what was said there, “Our teams evaluate our policies, training, processes, and resources on a continuous basis to ensure that they are thorough.” We are glad that our rules and activities take into account the fact that our team members come from all over the world.
IBM does the same thing; however, policies reviewed by Reuters found that many other major firms, including Amazon, Dell, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, do not specifically prohibit caste-based discrimination outside of India, despite the fact that such discrimination is illegal in India. Everyone agreed that this would come within their respective discrimination bans that are already in place.