A senior Apple engineer has claimed she has been placed on administrative leave after raising concerns about sexism and health and safety failings in the office.
Ashley Gjøvik, a senior engineering programme manager at the iPhone maker, tweeted about an alleged “toxic culture” and “hostile” work environment at the iPhone-maker. It comes as Apple staff clash with management over a return to office working.
In a rare move by an employee at the notoriously secretive Silicon Valley company, Ms Gjøvik alleged she had been subjected to sexist treatment in the workplace and placed on paid leave after she complained. Apple has opened an investigation into the claims, its second investigation into Ms Gjøvik’s complaints.
Her complaints included that Apple managers asked her to change her tone of voice, which she called “tonepolicing”, in meetings.
Ms Gjøvik accused Apple of suggesting that she take “medical leave after I spoke up about sexism and discrimination, and a hostile work environment”.
She has also accused the tech giant of having a “cult-like culture” that she needed to “deprogramme” herself from, in a series of posts attacking the iPhone maker.
An Apple spokesperson said: "We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace. We take all concerns seriously and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters.”
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. This seems to include me not using Apple’s internal Slack.
— Ashley M. Gjøvik (@ashleygjovik) August 4, 2021
On Wednesday night Ms Gjøvik claimed she had been placed on leave: “So, following raising concerns to Apple and sexism, hostile work environment and unsafe work conditions, I’m now on indefinite paid administrative leave per Apple employee relations, while they investigate my concerns.”
Ms Gjøvik is among Apple staff who have raised concerns about the company’s return to the office. In an internal letter leaked to tech news site The Verge, Apple staff claimed that colleagues were being “forced to quit” as a result of it tightening up home working policies.
“Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being and being empowered to do our best work, or being part of Apple,” the letter said.
An Apple employee for six years, Ms Gjøvik also claimed that Apple’s working conditions were “physically unsafe” due to Covid as well as “dangerous chemicals”. Ms Gjøvik has been contacted by The Telegraph for comment.
Apple has always maintained a secretive workplace environment amid concerns over product leaks.
However, it has been caught up in a growing wave of employee activism from Silicon Valley giants that have sparked staff walkouts at some companies over bullying, sexism and payouts to senior executives dismissed over sexual misconduct.
In 2018, more than 20,000 Google staff held a walkout against forced arbitration agreements and alleged payouts related to sexual harassment. At the time, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said he supported the right of staff to take action.