Apple has fired a manager who reported the company to employment authorities and spoke out on allegations of sexism at the tech giant.
Ashley Gjøvik, an engineering manager in California, said she had been dismissed for leaking confidential information about the company.
Ms Gjøvik had been the most outspoken of a group of Apple staff to break with the company’s culture of secrecy and publicly complain about its workplace policies.
In recent months, she has tweeted and documented allegations of bullying at work, potential safety concerns, and surveillance of employees. Ms Gjøvik and another employee recently filed complaints with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging retaliation for raising safety concerns and that Apple had suppressed discussions around equal pay.
Complaints she had made to Apple’s HR department included "sexual harassment" and a "hostile work environment", while she had also expressed privacy concerns over the company’s policy of requiring staff to use personal accounts for some work purposes.
Any bets if I get a literal knock on my physical door from #Apple today? pic.twitter.com/oFqw4VFaGi
— Ashley M. Gjøvik (@ashleygjovik) September 9, 2021
Apple has traditionally avoided the kind of workplace revolts to have affected other tech giants, typically surrounding issues such as content policies, projects with governments, and discrimination. But employees and former staff have increasingly spoken out about the company’s internal culture in recent months.
Ms Gjøvik said she had been fired after Apple asked to speak to her about a "sensitive IP [intellectual property] matter". After she said she wanted to have the discussion in writing, she was informed she was being fired.
She said Apple had refused to disclose what specific violation she was being dismissed for, and was unaware of what the concern was.
Ms Gjøvik told The Telegraph that her firing was "the worst thing they could possibly do right now" considering her complaints to the NLRB. "They have to know why they did it. Otherwise, it’s retaliation for whistleblowing," she said.
She said she had decided to speak out about the company’s work practices because she had expected to be fired after raising concerns about safety at work. "[I said] if I’m going down, I’m going to call them out – and try to see if they might do better."
Apple said it did not discuss individual employees. "We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace," a spokesperson said.
"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."