Ex-Apple employee files RICO lawsuit over whistleblower retaliation

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An Apple whistleblower has filed a RICO Act lawsuit against the company, in a bid to get the iPhone maker to answer accusations of retaliation against the former employee.

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In September 2021, Apple fired Ashley Gjovik under claims of IP disclosure policy violations, which led to a number of legal actions being launched against the company. With a two-year statute of limitations for a number of potential civil claims close to expiry, Gjovik has filed a lawsuit against Apple to keep them in play.

Gjovik's activity against Apple has been extensive in the last two years, including a win over an unemployment insurance appeal. There has also been an initial decision of merit on Gjovik's US Department of Labor charges of whistleblower retaliation under SOX, CERCLA, and the OSH Act, an NLRB charge over Apple's NDAs and employment policies that allegedly violate federal law, and other claims against the company.

However, Gjovik wrote on Saturday that "I still do not have final decisions on my retaliation charges against Apple, and my two-year statute of limitations for many of my potential civil claims expires tomorrow."

The civil lawsuit was filed on Friday as Gjovik had "decided that if I had to face Apple in court anyways, and only had one real chance to go after Apple on everything they've done to me, that I better include it all - and I did."

The filing for the RICO Act lawsuit includes claims relating to whistleblower retaliation under Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts, which are the jurisdiction of federal courts.

Gjovik "kicked-out" the Department of Labor (DOL) SOX charge as "I have given up on them actually fulfilling their statutory obligations after their ongoing obstruction and recent extortion attempts." Furthermore, the California DOL case has been moved from the state agency to the civil case, as the California DOL allows that action to occur.

The lawsuit was filed in California despite Gjovik's base being in New York over the alleged harassment due to the inclusion of California-specific claims. The claims include the state's Whistleblower Protection Act, California Labor Codes that prohibit retaliatory terminations over safety complaints or for discussing work conditions, and the Bane Civil Rights Act which prohibits threats and intimidation that interfere with civil rights in the state.

The Ralph Civil Rights Act is also cited too, as it prohibits threats of violence over a person's protected characteristic or being a member of protected groups. In this instance, the Ralph Act applies as a protected characteristic is a "position in a labor dispute."

Statute limits, privacy, and RICO



Gjovik expressed concern about the two-year statute limit as it would "impact my claim for a termination in violation of public policy under state law." It is claimed Apple's justification for the termination is a "gross violation of California law," due to the state having a constitutional right to privacy that cannot be waived in a private contract or in employment.

This right to privacy extends to instances such as the right to protest "egregious violations of their privacy by their employer, even if they previously consented," Gjovik mentions. There are also mentions of a California Labor code prohibiting employers from video recording employees in bathrooms and locker rooms, and the prohibiting of employee termination for off-duty conduct.

The FTC Act's prohibition of "developing commercial products based on nonconsensual, or otherwise unlawful, data" is another claim, as well as a request to disgorge Apple of products that are made using employee-sourced photos, video, and personal data "provided through employee coercion, not actual consent." There's also an order to prohibit Apple from "continuing their weird medical experiments and personal data harvesting on their employees."

Gjovik rounds out the charges list with a trio of violations of the RICO Act.

"Apparently, if an employer terminates an employee in a way that constitutes an indictable criminal act that is on the enumerated list of Predicate Acts for RICO, it can then establish a RICO case with additional related Predicate Acts," Gjovik proposes.

Additional RICO Act violations over wire fraud and mail fraud, complaints by Gjovik about securities fraud, and complaints about state criminal bribery and extortion are also included.

The filing was made on September 7, 2023, at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint demands a jury trial.

Apple has yet to comment about the new filing at this early stage.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 642member
    Obviously a whack job with a lawyer who sees a large cut of any settlement. I hope Apple fights her to the end. 

    One thing that is definitive…no one will ever hire her for any job in any capacity and that includes as a volunteer. 
    9secondkox2red oakradarthekatkillroywatto_cobrajib
  • Reply 2 of 20
    jimh2 said:
    Obviously a whack job with a lawyer who sees a large cut of any settlement. I hope Apple fights her to the end. 

    One thing that is definitive…no one will ever hire her for any job in any capacity and that includes as a volunteer. 
    She is an attorney herself so the only thing that is going to matter to a potential client is how successful her lawsuits are.
    ronnFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 3 of 20
    The nonsense american workers have to go through to get some basic worker protection is astounding. 
    chasmronn9secondkox2avon b7FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 4 of 20
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,413member
    Given Apple's recent unethical treatment of workers who want to unionise, I'll be interested to see what evidence she has that she was unfairly dismissed, et al.

    I have healthy doubt that everything she's claiming will stand up to scrutiny, but likewise I doubt that Apple has been completely above-board about this termination as well.
    gatorguyronn9secondkox2muthuk_vanalingambulk001FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 5 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,110member
    chasm said:
    Given Apple's recent unethical treatment of workers who want to unionise, I'll be interested to see what evidence she has that she was unfairly dismissed, et al.

    I have healthy doubt that everything she's claiming will stand up to scrutiny, but likewise I doubt that Apple has been completely above-board about this termination as well.
    That "unethical treatment of workers  who want to unionize" are allegations, and allegations made by their lawyers and union heads.  To my knowledge, nothing has been proven.

    edited September 2023 9secondkox2radarthekatkillroywatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 6 of 20
    ronnronn Posts: 669member

    She's throwing in the entire kitchen sink. A common tactic with the hope that many of the claims makes it through. Given Apple's illegal tactics in the past (and ongoing bad acts in multiple jurisdictions), I'm sure at least some of the charges she's made will be allowed to go to trial.

    9secondkox2killroy
  • Reply 7 of 20
    The same woman who didn’t do her job and instead used company time and money to “erase arch” and rally employees against the employer… that one? 

    They were right to fire hee. You do other things on your employers dime and you get let go. That’s how it works. 

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see it come out that she was part of a group that set out with this goal. 
    edited September 2023 red oakradarthekatkillroywatto_cobrajib
  • Reply 8 of 20
    jimh2 said:
    Obviously a whack job with a lawyer who sees a large cut of any settlement. I hope Apple fights her to the end. 

    One thing that is definitive…no one will ever hire her for any job in any capacity and that includes as a volunteer. 

    Yeah, you don't know what you're talking about.   Apple's dragging their feet because they can.  Apple Corporate is a monster.
    ronnbulk001michelb76FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 20

    The same woman who didn’t do her job and instead used company time and money to “erase arch” and rally employees against the employer… that one? 

    They were right to fire hee. You do other things on your employers dime and you get let go. That’s how it works. 

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see it come out that she was part of a group that set out with this goal. 
    wow, you just know it all, don't you.  You don't.


    muthuk_vanalingambulk001michelb76grandact73
  • Reply 10 of 20

    michelb76 said:
    The nonsense american workers have to go through to get some basic worker protection is astounding. 

    Yeah, no kidding.  Apple is an enormous and powerful American corporation with an army of lawyers and a culture that demands everyone be extremely loyal.  To the outside world, it comes across as "product secrecy".
    bulk001killroymichelb76FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 20

    ronn said:

    She's throwing in the entire kitchen sink. A common tactic with the hope that many of the claims makes it through. Given Apple's illegal tactics in the past (and ongoing bad acts in multiple jurisdictions), I'm sure at least some of the charges she's made will be allowed to go to trial.


    Except you don't know the history of what's been required of her to get answers.
    bulk001entropysFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 12 of 20
    ronnronn Posts: 669member

    ronn said:

    She's throwing in the entire kitchen sink. A common tactic with the hope that many of the claims makes it through. Given Apple's illegal tactics in the past (and ongoing bad acts in multiple jurisdictions), I'm sure at least some of the charges she's made will be allowed to go to trial.


    Except you don't know the history of what's been required of her to get answers.
    I know Apple was cited for breaking the law on multiple occasions and in multiple jurisdictions. She was one of the employees that put a stop to Apple's decree to not share salary info (a violation of employee rights in Calif). They have also been cited for union-busting tactics/unfair labor practices in Atlanta and Oklahoma City. And there is strong evidence of the same in New York-Grand Central and Towson, Maryland. She's a lawyer and knows that some of the charges will be dismissed due to the delaying tactics of Apple. She's also outlined the ongoing trickery from Apple from the start.
    bulk001FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 13 of 20
    I'm not making any points, simply that I'm struck by a few odd similarities between the country of China and Apple:

     - one leader - Xi, Tim
     - Apple board has seven members
     - China's Politburo Standing Committee has seven members

     - Dissent is not tolerated
     - Secrecy is highly valued
     - Economic growth phenomenally successful
    williamlondon
  • Reply 14 of 20
    jimh2 said:
    Obviously a whack job with a lawyer who sees a large cut of any settlement. I hope Apple fights her to the end. 

    One thing that is definitive…no one will ever hire her for any job in any capacity and that includes as a volunteer. 
    Congratulations on your armchair psychology and armchair legal degrees! Where did you get them from? The University of Outtamyarses? And if they are able to find any sort of criminality then your point that they are blacklisted because of Apple will cost the company more in damages. To me, working for Apple sounds about as enjoyable as working for Tesla or SpaceX! 
    ronnwilliamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 15 of 20
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,746member
    dave2012 said:
    I'm not making any points, simply that I'm struck by a few odd similarities between the country of China and Apple:

     - one leader - Xi, Tim
     - Apple board has seven members
     - China's Politburo Standing Committee has seven members

     - Dissent is not tolerated
     - Secrecy is highly valued
     - Economic growth phenomenally successful
    Wow, I'm "not making any points" but here's my bizarre conspiracy theory which is attempting to make a point. The mind boggles.
    killroywilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    dave2012 said:
    I'm not making any points, simply that I'm struck by a few odd similarities between the country of China and Apple:
     - one leader - Xi, Tim
     - Apple board has seven members
     - China's Politburo Standing Committee has seven members
     - Dissent is not tolerated
     - Secrecy is highly valued
     - Economic growth phenomenally successful

    um, Apple is a corporation that makes products to which they wield secrecy to gain a competitive advantage over competitors. 

    The Chinese government, ccp, is system of governance over it’s people.  One could argue they wield secrecy & control if messages to maintain power over the people.  

    I sometimes wear a tin foil hat but this one I wouldn’t even put on.  It was out there enough to get me to respond.  Bravo. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,703member
    dave2012 said:
    I'm not making any points, simply that I'm struck by a few odd similarities between the country of China and Apple:

     - one leader - Xi, Tim
     - Apple board has seven members
     - China's Politburo Standing Committee has seven members

     - Dissent is not tolerated
     - Secrecy is highly valued
     - Economic growth phenomenally successful
    A single leader at the top, works for enough growth over economic ruin, values hard work and loyalty, and is secretive to protect assets? Holy fucking shit! You just explained nearly every business and country in the world.
    ronn
  • Reply 18 of 20
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,385member
    As soon as I saw this headline I knew it was probably this psychopath. She also claims Apple tried to poison her, among a litany of other insane allegations. I’ve read enough of her stuff to know she just, including her unhinged, nonsensical Twitter tirades. It’s sad that she gets the time of day and that even people on this site are cheering for this person who by all accounts seems malicious and unstable. 
    tenthousandthingsjib
  • Reply 19 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,221member
    I think I will side with slurpy on this one. A lot of her online posts were a little, edgy shall we say.  Apple is a big mean corporation, but this behaviour should not be rewarded.  
    tenthousandthingsjib
  • Reply 20 of 20
    auxio said:
    dave2012 said:
    I'm not making any points, simply that I'm struck by a few odd similarities between the country of China and Apple:

     - one leader - Xi, Tim
     - Apple board has seven members
     - China's Politburo Standing Committee has seven members

     - Dissent is not tolerated
     - Secrecy is highly valued
     - Economic growth phenomenally successful
    Wow, I'm "not making any points" but here's my bizarre conspiracy theory which is attempting to make a point. The mind boggles.
    Hi Auxio, I hadn't considered it in terms of conspiracy theories, I'm not into them myself, but as you like to view things that way I've had a thought and this is the best I can come up with for you - hope you like it! -

    Xi wanted to create the most successful economy in the world - and he looked at the other great superpower to see how they did it - and to his disgust he found that USA had achieved world domination using bombing, invading, destruction, killing. So he thought: 'maybe we shouldn't model our country on the greatest economic country, but on the greatest economic company!'
    muthuk_vanalingam
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