Apple fires employee who complained about harassment over leak

Gjøvik said she had been preparing herself for something like this to happen...

What you need to know

  • Apple has fired an employee who raised concerns about intimidation and harassment at work.
  • Ashley Gjøvik's employment was terminated following an investigation into a "sensitive intellectual property matter".
  • Gjøvik had been on leave since August because of her complaints.

Apple has fired a senior engineering program manager who has been tweeting about intimidation and harassment in the workplace, over claims she leaked information regarding a "sensitive intellectual property matter."

As reported by The Verge:

Apple has fired senior engineering program manager Ashley Gjøvik for allegedly violating the company's rules against leaking confidential information. For months, Gjøvik has been tweeting openly about allegations of harassment, surveillance, and workplace safety.

Gjøvik received an email from Apple's AMR Threat Assessment & Workplace violence team, asking for an immediate face-to-face conversation regarding a "sensitive Intellectual Property matter". Gjøvik asked for any questions to take place in writing:

Gjøvik said she wanted to keep all communications in writing, and noted she was forwarding the correspondence along to the NLRB, where she recently filed a charge. The employee relations representative responded to say that because she had chosen not to participate in the discussion, they would move forward with the information they had and — "given the seriousness of these allegations" — suspend her access to Apple systems.

Hours later, she received an email to say she was being fired, effective Friday. AppleInsider notes that Gjøvik was contacted just 10 minutes after she tweeted about a 2011 incident in which Apple security personnel allegedly raided the house of a San Francisco Man whilst posing as police in search of a missing iPhone prototype. The email came from someone with the exact same job description and title as an employee named in the 2011 story:

Gjøvik's firing also came just a day before she was due to file an affidavit with the NLRB regarding her complaint. She told The Verge she had been preparing herself "for something exactly like this to happen", and that she was "disappointed that a company I have loved since I was a little girl would treat their employees this way."

Gjøvik is one of a number of employees who have raised public concern about Apple's working conditions and treatment of employees, with some forming an #AppleToo movement that has received hundreds of employee complaints of harassment, intimidation, racism, and discrimination. In a statement, Apple 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."