Charges of sexism at Apple

Apple is not immune. Here’s what Ashley Gjøvik told Zoe Schiffer at The Verge about her complaints.

From “Apple places female engineering program manager on administrative leave after tweeting about sexism in the office” posted Wednesday:

For months, I have been raising concerns with Apple employee relations about years of experiences with sexism, a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions, and retaliation. I asked them to mitigate the hostile work environment while they investigate, and they initially offered me EAP therapy and medical leave. I told them that made no sense, and said they should talk to my leadership and set up oversight and boundaries. I added that if there was no other option they could give me paid administrative leave. They apparently made no effort to set boundaries and instead said they were placing me on administrative leave and implied they did not want me on Slack where I had been vocal about my concerns with certain policies at the company. They also implied they didn’t want me to meet one-on-one with other women at the company about their concerns with Apple policies, which I had been doing.

My take: Slack again. When employees get a way to talk among themselves, stuff come up.

16 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Not having heard both sides (doubt we ever will), I can’t make a value judgement on her claims.

    It does seem odd, though, that this conduct has been going on for “years” and she seems to be the only target.

    2
    August 5, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Gregg Thurman —

      While I’m sure you could gather
      #enoughofacrowd
      that has
      #plentyofconcerns
      #tocomplainabout
      with most any workplace (a “song-of-the-centuries” — no doubt),
      #Itooamsomewhatsuspicious
      of employee’s
      #growlsoverworkingconditions
      .

      When I think of my 40 years of grunt&sweat retail-grocery and snack-delivery labor and the number of
      #issuesandconcerns
      where I and my fellow employees simply had to
      #suckitupregardless
      , I’m left with a limp empathy for some employees scalpel-like critique dissection of today’s all-too-common workplace
      #woesandconcerns
      .

      Especially the
      #PAIDadministrativeleave
      ones.

      Much of this world’s complaints and concerns, while containing justified merit, simply get walked over and have been since the advent of time.

      Sorry I’ll be
      #pissingplentyofpeopleoff
      and that the situation isn’t the better and
      #desiredone.

      0
      August 5, 2021
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    I sure wish I could fall asleep. No luck since going to bed almost 7 hours ago. I think it’s not having AC (seldom needed it) and the heat wave just keeps on keeping on.

    I’ve been up here in the Inland NW for 31 years, and I’ve never experienced anything like this. Generally the temp is in the low to mid 80s. Since late June it’s been 15 to 20 degrees warmer.

    0
    August 5, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @Gregg Thurman: We experience hurricane and tropical storm seasons where we often lose power and have no air conditioning. For short durations of a day or two, perhaps three you may find relief by taking cold showers, lie nude atop the sheets with a cold damp towel covering your body amid air circulation. Any longer than that period you should consider going to a hotel (or in your situation) getting a window A/C unit because heat exhaustion can be insidious, setting in seemingly without you knowing fully it is happening to you.

      1
      August 5, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      Sounds like it’s time to use some AAPL proceeds to get AC and additional insulation to prevent heat gain installed, either whole house central AC or room by room. IMO, the PNW and the West is not going to get cooler but potentially become a cooker.

      I delayed getting a failing 18+ y/o dual AC system repaired or replaced for two years starting back in 2012. The summers and fall were excruciatingly hot and we barely made do with 4 portable AC units in strategic rooms. It was a stupid exercise in rationalizing why I shouldn’t spend the money. During that time my handicapped daughter became more medically fragile and heat intolerant. I finally retired in early 2014 to take better care of her medical issues and went all in on AAPL investing just in time for the 7:1 split. A nice promo for AC installation through Costco also helped prod me along.

      I had more attic insulation added, improved window insulation and coverings which significantly reduced the sun heat gain, and had both AC systems completely rebuilt with much more energy efficient Lennox units and added activated Carbon HEPA air filtration and fully digital thermostats (to be upgraded to Apple iPhone wireless control). For the past 6 years, there’s never an issue with heat waves even to over 100 degrees, it stays comfortable all year round, of course with some increases in energy expenditure and use.

      But what is the use of investing wisely, especially with AAPL, if you don’t put that money to good use and live in reasonable comfort for the rest of you and your family’s days? For the cost of between 100 to 250 AAPL shares (and any tax issues) and about two weeks work, one can guarantee the next 15-20 years will be much more comfortable HVAC and temperature wise. I would consider that another wise investment. You can even get a 10% Costco Shop card on Qualifying Lennox systems which will come in handy.

      No time like the present to get started, especially considering everyone else may be doing the same thing.

      4
      August 5, 2021
      • Bart Yee said:
        Here’s the Costco link or see the local store reps:

        Lennox Heating and Air Conditioning Systems | Costco https://www.costco.com/lennox-heating-air-conditioning.html

        I didn’t realize you’re also getting smoke from all the surrounding wildfires, another reason to get better air filtering and handling plus sealing the housr better.

        0
        August 5, 2021
        • David Emery said:
          You should look at ‘splits’, Mitsubishi and I think Toshiba make these. The advantage is that installation occurs mostly outside the house. (If you want whole house A/C, ductwork inside is a big issue.) They run efficiently and quietly. A lot of people here in NH are adding these to their houses. (We have full house A/C, it was a requirement when we moved here. I was thinking ahead to climate change…)

          0
          August 5, 2021
          • Bart Yee said:
            @David Totally agree on the Splits type for each room independently or group controlled (via iphone of course) if the home isn’t already plumbed for air ducts. I’ve seen them in action and pretty novel.

            Each installation is different and depends a lot on square footage, needs, space for ducting and location of central vs room sited units. Cost of course, ease of installation plus forward operations costs for older homes is another consideration. In now heat prone areas this is likely to be a major upgrade most will make while adding value to the home over time.

            Many thermostatic control systems are now WiFi connected with iOS apps to control whole systems or zones, making it a lot easier to manage.

            0
            August 5, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    Ms. Gjøvik asked for paid administrative leave while Apple completed the second investigation of the employee’s complaint and Apple complied giving her the benefit. It is appropriate during such investigation for neither side to go public with alleged allegations until such time the investigation is finished. So, I cannot condone Ms. Gjøvik’s behavior to go on Slack vocalizing her allegations and concerns with other employees while the investigation is underway. Let the investigation finish to see the results.

    I am a former Union Local president and subsequent National Executive VP of a Council within the AFL/CIO. It was our adopted course of action to asked employees to let the process complete itself before going public. Going public could taint the investigation and exacerbate matters more. The fact Ms. Gjøvik chose to ignore this prudent traditional procedure will make it more difficult for the parties involved to complete a thorough investigation. My advice to the good woman would be to stay on paid administrative leave, say nothing publicly anymore, give us all the factual supportive documentation of her employee complaints and let us do our job representing her. If she is dissatisfied with her internal company representative(s), then consider getting an outside party to intercede on her behalf. I fear Ms. Gjøvik is doing herself a disservice if she continues her current course of action of going public before the investigation of her alleged complaints is finished.

    7
    August 5, 2021
  4. Fred Stein said:
    Apple has 100,000 employees.

    The employees words; “I added that if there was no other option they could give me paid administrative leave.”

    I read The Verge article. It provides only allegations, and nothing to support for ‘unsafe working conditions’.

    3
    August 5, 2021
  5. David Emery said:
    In my working experience, I’ve seen situations where one person decides s/he has been insulted/unfairly targeted. (And I’ve even ‘been that person’, albeit not for reasons related to sex or some other “protected class.”) HR’s primary function in those situations is to keep the company out of court, then to generally protect the institution. ‘Treating the employee fairly’ is at best a distant third. (In part because in my experience, most HR people are grossly incompetent, but that’s another rant.) So the question in my mind is whether this is a single disaffected employee, or the tip of an iceberg. I dunno, either answer is possible.

    3
    August 5, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      p.s. By “institution,” mostly that’s ‘protect current management’ and then ‘the reputation of the company’ – in that order!

      1
      August 5, 2021
    • Steven Noyes said:
      I’m jaded by these things having been called into HR because I commented, at lunch, I was going home to walk my dog. This is something I did everyday at lunch and it was a high point to get me out of stress heck.

      Turns out a female employee was highly offended thinking “walk my dog” was a euphemism for some other activity. Being highly offended, she turned me into HR and HR wanted me to admit guilt about talking about masturbation at work. Oh, and take some classes.

      We went around and around for an hour until they finally admitted that walking your dog is just that. Walking your dog. But they still needed to show they were being progressive and dealing with the situation. My suggestion was to have the “victim” take communication classes but they said that was “victim blaming”.

      Eventually, it turns out this person had turned other in for various things and my program manager had HR talk to her about being far over-sensitive.

      Given this was in aerospace I can only imagine the living nightmare highly progressive companies are.

      0
      August 5, 2021
      • Bart Yee said:
        I have 7 cats and all of them vie for and get attention. My family calls me the cat whisperer.

        I’d hate to think what euphemisms that would engender.

        0
        August 6, 2021

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