Apple fires employee who spoke out on workplace issues, cites alleged leak

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 10
Apple on Thursday fired Ashley Gjovik for violating company policy regarding the disclosure of intellectual property, but failed to specify what confidential information, if any, was leaked. The senior engineering program manager has for the past few months publicly aired concerns over unresolved workplace issues including sexism and discrimination.

Apple Park


Gjovik earlier today received an email from Apple's employee relations team saying that an investigation into a "sensitive intellectual property matter" was underway. The representative recommended that they speak within the hour, but Gjovik requested adherence to past stipulations that all communications be conducted in writing as the correspondence would be included in an active National Labor Relations Board complaint, according to emails viewed by AppleInsider.

Gjovik responded by reiterating a willingness to participate in the investigation and asked for a chance to address the claims, but the ER representative said the group would move forward without her input because she had "chosen not to participate in the discussion." She was subsequently restricted from accessing Apple's systems.

An email sent a couple hours later carried word of her termination and repeated the vague claim that she leaked "confidential product-related information." Apple does not detail the nature of the leak in its termination notice and has not explained particulars of the situation to Gjovik despite requests to do so.

"After I started facing retaliation and intimidation last spring, I sadly expected to be fired without any real explanation (as I was today). However, I'm still shocked and hurt," Gjovik said in an emailed statement. "I love Apple products and worked tirelessly to help ensure Apple creates exceptional customers experiences. Me as a little girl playing on my G3 Tower would have never dreamt that company would fire me for advocating for employee rights and labor conditions. [I] feel betrayed."

The program manager has been tweeting about various work-related issues for months and often includes redacted emails and other media in her posts. Harassment, a hostile work environment, retaliation, bullying and sexism are among the concerns she raised to appropriate authorities within Apple, though the calls seemingly fell on deaf ears.

Gjovik was put on administrative leave in early August.

Beyond a recent ticket relating to potential hazardous waste contamination at her office, Gjovik's timeline does not contain information about products, initiatives or internal services that is not already public knowledge. She did, however, recently raise awareness about employee privacy by revealing to The Verge the existence of an internal product testing tool that records images whenever an employee's iPhone is opened.

The timing of today's termination is suspicious. A tweet posted about 10 minutes before ER reached out contained reference to a 2011 incident in which Apple security personnel searched the home of a San Francisco man for a missing iPhone prototype. Gjovik later noted that the ER representative is a member of Apple's Threat Assessment and Workplace Violence team and holds the same title and job description as a "senior investigator" named in the supposed house raid.

Gjovik is also scheduled to file an affidavit with the NLRB on Friday.

Employees should in some cases be allowed to reference certain deemed-confidential company communications when flagging workplace issues, Gjovik believes. Apple does not agree. The company recently denied a proposal from shareholders and activists to exempt employee non-disclosure agreements when considering reports of harassment and discrimination, saying exceptions are already covered under the Business Conduct Policy. The group has filed a resolution on the matter that will go up for vote at Apple's next shareholder meeting.

Today's development arrives as Apple employees begin to organize over reportedly poor handling of workplace grievances. An external effort dubbed AppleToo has collected and is starting to publish hundreds of stories illustrating workplace harassment, sexism, racism, inequity and other serious allegations.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    What she describes sounds (unfortunately) typical of most corporates and is very believable.  I can imagine working for an employer that has such a comprehensive—even overwhelming—employee monitoring capability, and an internal crack squadron of “ threat officers” (the so-called Apple Police) would be stressful, even without employer problems.  You’d want to consider that when negotiating a salary with Apple, that’s for sure.

    Not convinced airing your grievances on Twitter is the right approach, however.
    d_2tenthousandthingschemengin1DBSynckillroy
  • Reply 2 of 57
    She finally got the boot! 🥳
    n2itivguymike1GeorgeBMacdee_deedewmebloggerblogwilliamlondonDBSyncandrewj5790steven n.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    Maybe Apple is finally growing some cojones? I mean, if you hate the company so much, why not just quit? I guess some people hate working so much and try to make lottery tickets out of their employers.
    pichaelmike1GeorgeBMacdee_deedewmebloggerblogwilliamlondonigorskysteven n.jajabento
  • Reply 4 of 57
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,784member
    s.metcalf said:
    What she describes sounds (unfortunately) typical of most corporates and is very believable.  I can imagine working for an employer that has such a comprehensive—even overwhelming—employee monitoring capability, and an internal crack squadron of “ threat officers” (the so-called Apple Police) would be stressful, even without employer problems.  You’d want to consider that when negotiating a salary with Apple, that’s for sure.

    Not convinced airing your grievances on Twitter is the right approach, however.
    I worked for Apple a total of 5 weeks as an iOS At Home Advisor (phone tech support). Four weeks of that was training which was great. The actual work was too stressful and I had to quit. One factor was the shocking amount of monitoring they did on me while I worked. One time after a call, I was doing the cleanup (notes etc.) and I heard a voice calling my name. A window opened on my iMac and my manager appeared wanting to know why I was taking so long. I was not used to that sort of oversight. Every employer I had ever had in my life gave me the responsibility to get the work done without someone standing over me. There were a lot of rules including shutting off the iMac  when done working and not using it for anything until the next shift. Even if it was related to my work, like checking my schedule for example, was not allowed. Plus then there was this whole complex system of demerits you got for being late, or going to a doctor's appointment or anything else related to life in general. None of this is unique to Apple of course, but it is alien to me. At age 64 and retired, I do feel very sorry for people stuck in this sort or corporate gulag. I could not do it and won't even entertain the thought of working for a large corporation ever again.
    NumNutsjSnivelyblastdoord_2kayessjeffharrisbeowulfschmidtelijahglarryjwfotoformat
  • Reply 5 of 57
    This woman was paid 386k by Apple and bad mouthed company because her manager complimented her on an improved presentation. Apple should have fired cancer like this way earlier 
    pichaeln2itivguywilliamhred oakjeffharrismacplusplusmike1GeorgeBMacdee_deesdw2001
  • Reply 6 of 57
    Ashley has had quite a year of having to confront and mount vigorous claims  against not only Apple, but also numerous claims concerning her apartment complex, due to potential toxic chemical exposure. In March, she suffered numerous, undiagnosable health issues and sought relief from her developer, the Irving Company, the City of Santa Clara, Northrupt Grumman and more. I believe she stated she suffers from PTSD as a result. She is also currently a law school student so she’s well equipped to mount vigorous defenses. Too bad her employment relationship has deteriorated. Here’s an article for the SF Bay Vu Ashley wrote in March (which started it all):  (I hope members of Apple Too will do a GoFundMe to benefit her expenses):
      https://t.co/i68rOWV0Wb
    kayesswilliamlondonronn
  • Reply 7 of 57
    So much secrecy. So little results. Again the iPhone 14 was leaked a week before the iPhone 13 was released causing many potential buyers to wait for next years far sleeker model. Given that level of leak, what difference does it make keeping some arcane aspect of an Apple product a secret?
    elijahg
  • Reply 8 of 57
    welshdog said:
    s.metcalf said:
    What she describes sounds (unfortunately) typical of most corporates and is very believable.  I can imagine working for an employer that has such a comprehensive—even overwhelming—employee monitoring capability, and an internal crack squadron of “ threat officers” (the so-called Apple Police) would be stressful, even without employer problems.  You’d want to consider that when negotiating a salary with Apple, that’s for sure.

    Not convinced airing your grievances on Twitter is the right approach, however.
    I worked for Apple a total of 5 weeks as an iOS At Home Advisor (phone tech support). Four weeks of that was training which was great. The actual work was too stressful and I had to quit. One factor was the shocking amount of monitoring they did on me while I worked. One time after a call, I was doing the cleanup (notes etc.) and I heard a voice calling my name. A window opened on my iMac and my manager appeared wanting to know why I was taking so long. I was not used to that sort of oversight. Every employer I had ever had in my life gave me the responsibility to get the work done without someone standing over me. There were a lot of rules including shutting off the iMac  when done working and not using it for anything until the next shift. Even if it was related to my work, like checking my schedule for example, was not allowed. Plus then there was this whole complex system of demerits you got for being late, or going to a doctor's appointment or anything else related to life in general. None of this is unique to Apple of course, but it is alien to me. At age 64 and retired, I do feel very sorry for people stuck in this sort or corporate gulag. I could not do it and won't even entertain the thought of working for a large corporation ever again.
    You certainly have a lot to say after one whole week on the job. I've used Apple support for nearly 3 decades and without exception, all support personnel spent however much time was necessary (sometimes days!) to resolve my issue. During this time it wasn't unusual for me to have casual conversation with them. Given how many of them sincerely loved their job at Apple (many of whom had worked there for ages), I have to wonder about this one-week-wonder.
    kayessmike1pscooter63mwhiteravnorodomralphiebloggerblogwilliamlondonrossb2fastasleep
  • Reply 9 of 57
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,112member
    If that account is accurate then jfc Apple.  I hope she has opportunity to take them to an employment tribunal because that is some shady manoeuvring.
    elijahgMplsPronn
  • Reply 10 of 57
    If less than fifty lawyers signed off on this people would need to lose their jobs: and I really doubt Apple is short of lawyers. 


    mike1
  • Reply 11 of 57
    Good riddance.  She pulled this crap at every company she worked at prior to Apple.   She was with Apple for 2 years and half that time was out on disability.  She was a nightmare employee.   

    Good luck to her getting another job in tech.  $400k plus stock RSUs up in smoke - just like that


    mike1pscooter63mwhiteravnorodombloggerblogrcfawilliamlondonjajabento
  • Reply 12 of 57
    She seems a real treat to know.  Just curious but was she an “at will” employee?

    Being at will doesn’t mean an employer can fire an employee to cover up wrong-doing. But it does mean that if she raises issues about every conceivable thing that are looked into and found lacking and isn’t getting her job done  . . . 


    edited September 10 igorskyjajabento
  • Reply 13 of 57
    welshdog said:
    s.metcalf said:
    What she describes sounds (unfortunately) typical of most corporates and is very believable.  I can imagine working for an employer that has such a comprehensive—even overwhelming—employee monitoring capability, and an internal crack squadron of “ threat officers” (the so-called Apple Police) would be stressful, even without employer problems.  You’d want to consider that when negotiating a salary with Apple, that’s for sure.

    Not convinced airing your grievances on Twitter is the right approach, however.
    I worked for Apple a total of 5 weeks as an iOS At Home Advisor (phone tech support). Four weeks of that was training which was great. The actual work was too stressful and I had to quit. One factor was the shocking amount of monitoring they did on me while I worked. One time after a call, I was doing the cleanup (notes etc.) and I heard a voice calling my name. A window opened on my iMac and my manager appeared wanting to know why I was taking so long. I was not used to that sort of oversight. Every employer I had ever had in my life gave me the responsibility to get the work done without someone standing over me. There were a lot of rules including shutting off the iMac  when done working and not using it for anything until the next shift. Even if it was related to my work, like checking my schedule for example, was not allowed. Plus then there was this whole complex system of demerits you got for being late, or going to a doctor's appointment or anything else related to life in general. None of this is unique to Apple of course, but it is alien to me. At age 64 and retired, I do feel very sorry for people stuck in this sort or corporate gulag. I could not do it and won't even entertain the thought of working for a large corporation ever again.
    You certainly have a lot to say after one whole week on the job. I've used Apple support for nearly 3 decades and without exception, all support personnel spent however much time was necessary (sometimes days!) to resolve my issue. During this time it wasn't unusual for me to have casual conversation with them. Given how many of them sincerely loved their job at Apple (many of whom had worked there for ages), I have to wonder about this one-week-wonder.
    You certainly have a lot to say as a user of Apple support rather than a supplier of Apple support. Your perspective and s.metcalf are on opposite sides of the fence. Then you proceed to discredit s.metcalf with no relevant evidence in your 5 sentences of irrelevant drivel. What a drongo.
    beowulfschmidtelijahgAI_liaslarryjwfotoformatjcs2305shareef777ravnorodombloggerblogchemengin1
  • Reply 14 of 57
    Ashley is about to become very wealthy.
    williamlondonronn
  • Reply 15 of 57
    Ashley has had quite a year of having to confront and mount vigorous claims  against not only Apple, but also numerous claims concerning her apartment complex, due to potential toxic chemical exposure. In March, she suffered numerous, undiagnosable health issues and sought relief from her developer, the Irving Company, the City of Santa Clara, Northrupt Grumman and more. I believe she stated she suffers from PTSD as a result. She is also currently a law school student so she’s well equipped to mount vigorous defenses. Too bad her employment relationship has deteriorated. Here’s an article for the SF Bay Vu Ashley wrote in March (which started it all):  (I hope members of Apple Too will do a GoFundMe to benefit her expenses):
      https://t.co/i68rOWV0Wb
    Sounds like she bit off more than she can chew and can’t handle an almost $400k a year job while in law school, another extremely stressful adventure. She seems to be one of those people that trouble follows or maybe she just creates it. 
    ralphiebloggerblogBosawilliamlondon9secondkox2
  • Reply 16 of 57
    welshdog said:
    s.metcalf said:
    What she describes sounds (unfortunately) typical of most corporates and is very believable.  I can imagine working for an employer that has such a comprehensive—even overwhelming—employee monitoring capability, and an internal crack squadron of “ threat officers” (the so-called Apple Police) would be stressful, even without employer problems.  You’d want to consider that when negotiating a salary with Apple, that’s for sure.

    Not convinced airing your grievances on Twitter is the right approach, however.
    I worked for Apple a total of 5 weeks as an iOS At Home Advisor (phone tech support). Four weeks of that was training which was great. The actual work was too stressful and I had to quit. One factor was the shocking amount of monitoring they did on me while I worked. One time after a call, I was doing the cleanup (notes etc.) and I heard a voice calling my name. A window opened on my iMac and my manager appeared wanting to know why I was taking so long. I was not used to that sort of oversight. Every employer I had ever had in my life gave me the responsibility to get the work done without someone standing over me. There were a lot of rules including shutting off the iMac  when done working and not using it for anything until the next shift. Even if it was related to my work, like checking my schedule for example, was not allowed. Plus then there was this whole complex system of demerits you got for being late, or going to a doctor's appointment or anything else related to life in general. None of this is unique to Apple of course, but it is alien to me. At age 64 and retired, I do feel very sorry for people stuck in this sort or corporate gulag. I could not do it and won't even entertain the thought of working for a large corporation ever again.
    You certainly have a lot to say after one whole week on the job. I've used Apple support for nearly 3 decades and without exception, all support personnel spent however much time was necessary (sometimes days!) to resolve my issue. During this time it wasn't unusual for me to have casual conversation with them. Given how many of them sincerely loved their job at Apple (many of whom had worked there for ages), I have to wonder about this one-week-wonder.
    I literally called them last week and was on the phone for a good while resolving an issue. Parts of the conversation was about hurricane Ida that had just hit us and there was no sense she was on the clock. At all. 
    pscooter63williamlondonrossb2RonnyDaddymrbazz22
  • Reply 17 of 57
    welshdog said:
    s.metcalf said:
    What she describes sounds (unfortunately) typical of most corporates and is very believable.  I can imagine working for an employer that has such a comprehensive—even overwhelming—employee monitoring capability, and an internal crack squadron of “ threat officers” (the so-called Apple Police) would be stressful, even without employer problems.  You’d want to consider that when negotiating a salary with Apple, that’s for sure.

    Not convinced airing your grievances on Twitter is the right approach, however.
    I worked for Apple a total of 5 weeks as an iOS At Home Advisor (phone tech support). Four weeks of that was training which was great. The actual work was too stressful and I had to quit. One factor was the shocking amount of monitoring they did on me while I worked. One time after a call, I was doing the cleanup (notes etc.) and I heard a voice calling my name. A window opened on my iMac and my manager appeared wanting to know why I was taking so long. I was not used to that sort of oversight. Every employer I had ever had in my life gave me the responsibility to get the work done without someone standing over me. There were a lot of rules including shutting off the iMac  when done working and not using it for anything until the next shift. Even if it was related to my work, like checking my schedule for example, was not allowed. Plus then there was this whole complex system of demerits you got for being late, or going to a doctor's appointment or anything else related to life in general. None of this is unique to Apple of course, but it is alien to me. At age 64 and retired, I do feel very sorry for people stuck in this sort or corporate gulag. I could not do it and won't even entertain the thought of working for a large corporation ever again.
    You certainly have a lot to say after one whole week on the job. I've used Apple support for nearly 3 decades and without exception, all support personnel spent however much time was necessary (sometimes days!) to resolve my issue. During this time it wasn't unusual for me to have casual conversation with them. Given how many of them sincerely loved their job at Apple (many of whom had worked there for ages), I have to wonder about this one-week-wonder.
    Maybe try, just a little, not to be a d!ck? Really uncalled for. 

    I work for a much smaller company than Apple, but not small (over 1k employees). My personal experiences at my company have been very positive. If people from outside my company interacted with me, they'd think my company is great. But I also know of groups within my company that are managed by unenlightened little despots. It's disturbing that such groups can exist, but I think it's the nature of American corporate structure -- it's very feudal. All power and authority flows from the top down. The CEO is king, and to maintain power the CEO grants other executives their own little fiefdoms in which they are little despots. Some little despots are great, some are awful. But to hold on to his position, the big King is loathe to undercut one of the little despots UNELSS they make the mistake of crossing him. So those of us lucky to work under an enlightened despot feel bad for those who do not, but we dare not risk our privileged position by rocking the boat too hard. 
    AI_liasmuthuk_vanalingampscooter63shareef777elijahgjSnivelyJWSCwilliamlondonronn
  • Reply 18 of 57
    welshdog said:
    s.metcalf said:
    What she describes sounds (unfortunately) typical of most corporates and is very believable.  I can imagine working for an employer that has such a comprehensive—even overwhelming—employee monitoring capability, and an internal crack squadron of “ threat officers” (the so-called Apple Police) would be stressful, even without employer problems.  You’d want to consider that when negotiating a salary with Apple, that’s for sure.

    Not convinced airing your grievances on Twitter is the right approach, however.
    I worked for Apple a total of 5 weeks as an iOS At Home Advisor (phone tech support). Four weeks of that was training which was great. The actual work was too stressful and I had to quit. One factor was the shocking amount of monitoring they did on me while I worked. One time after a call, I was doing the cleanup (notes etc.) and I heard a voice calling my name. A window opened on my iMac and my manager appeared wanting to know why I was taking so long. I was not used to that sort of oversight. Every employer I had ever had in my life gave me the responsibility to get the work done without someone standing over me. There were a lot of rules including shutting off the iMac  when done working and not using it for anything until the next shift. Even if it was related to my work, like checking my schedule for example, was not allowed. Plus then there was this whole complex system of demerits you got for being late, or going to a doctor's appointment or anything else related to life in general. None of this is unique to Apple of course, but it is alien to me. At age 64 and retired, I do feel very sorry for people stuck in this sort or corporate gulag. I could not do it and won't even entertain the thought of working for a large corporation ever again.
    You certainly have a lot to say after one whole week on the job. I've used Apple support for nearly 3 decades and without exception, all support personnel spent however much time was necessary (sometimes days!) to resolve my issue. During this time it wasn't unusual for me to have casual conversation with them. Given how many of them sincerely loved their job at Apple (many of whom had worked there for ages), I have to wonder about this one-week-wonder.
    You're talking about support taking a long time on the phone with you, while they were talking about time off the phone. Two different things. They were actual Apple employees, and you were just a user. So, you're probably also the kind of person that thinks the waitress is hitting on you?
    crowleyjcs2305williamlondonronn
  • Reply 19 of 57
    larrya said:
    Ashley is about to become very wealthy.
    what makes you say that? she leaked an internal tool to the press and talked about doing it on twitter
    mwhiteBosawilliamlondonapplguy9secondkox2jajabento
  • Reply 20 of 57
    One has to be smart about these things - if having a genuine complaint approach the police or legal representation as relevant: blog posts are nothing more than PR. Also attempts to paint your employer a particular way with cherry-picking is never going to go well (this is often libel.) 
    pscooter63mwhitedee_deesdw2001JWSCwilliamlondon9secondkox2
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