Respect Equality

Apple employees allege harassment, retaliation

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The Apple logo set up on a retail storefront.  Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • Two claims filed with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board cite retaliatory business practices among Apple management.
  • Both of the current employees who filed the separate claims describe harassment and suppressive managerial behavior.
  • These claims have spurred the #AppleToo movement, which encouraged former and current Apple employees to come forward with incidents of harassment and retaliation.

A labor oversight agency is reviewing two separate charges filed against software and hardware titan Apple amid allegations of retaliation and threats, among other charges.

Filed on Aug. 26 and Sept. 1 with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Oakland, Calif., the charges allege the company engaged in various retaliatory and unwarranted disciplinary actions. Details from the complaint submitted in August allege that Apple management forced the employee on paid administrative leave and reduced work responsibilities, as well as subjected them to harassment from a manager alongside botched Employee Relations investigations.

The employee who filed the August complaint, Ashley Gjovik, came forward to Reuters about her claim against Apple. Gjovik, an engineering program manager, previously raised concerns about Apple’s work environment.

“So, following raising concerns to #Apple about #sexism, #hostileworkenvironment, & #unsafeworkconditions, I’m now on indefinite paid administrative leave per #Apple employee relations, while they investigate my concerns,” she wrote on Twitter on Aug. 4. She has been outspoken in raising concerns of the company’s business practices and treatment of employees.

Gjovik further stated that after raising complaints about her work environment in July, Apple’s Employment Relations department placed her on leave rather than collaborating with her on solutions. 

Another Apple employee, Cher Scarlett, also stated on Twitter that she filed the most recent September complaint against the company, citing violations against the federal National Labor Relations Act.

“These all revolve around unlawful conduct and unlawful rules that have been engaged in over the past 5 months, particularly over the last month,” she added.

Upon reviewing the documents, Reuters reported that Scarlett’s claim alleges Apple “engaged in coercive and suppressive activity that has enabled abuse and harassment of organizers of protected concerted activity.”

This included denying employees a Slack channel to discuss pay equity and blocking employee-run surveys surrounding salary data.

Scarlett is also part of a larger body of professionals who launched #AppleToo, a hashtag and website stemming from the #MeToo movement intended for former and current Apple employees to discuss experiences of harassment or unfair labor practices they endured at the company.



“For too long, Apple has evaded public scrutiny,” the website reads. “The truth is that for many Apple workers — a reality faced disproportionately by our Black, Indigenous, and other colleagues from minoritized racial, gender, and historically marginalized groups of people — the culture of secrecy creates an opaque, intimidating fortress.”

The Hill reached out to both Apple and the NLRB for comment. The NLRB had no comment, and Apple said in a previous statement that “We take all concerns seriously and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised.”

Like many other Silicon Valley behemoths, Apple has been notoriously secretive about its work culture. A buildup of complaints about working conditions among the elite tech industry has ushered in a wave of unionization efforts, seen recently with Google and Amazon, while employees from other companies like Pinterest have filed lawsuits alleging discrimination among senior management.