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Apple fires employee who complained about harassment over leak

Apple Park photo of the side of the main building
Apple Park photo of the side of the main building (Image credit: Apple)

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:

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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."

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

2 Comments
  • Looks like Apple is no better at treating employees as Walmart. How disgusting.
  • There's always more to this than one headline, one point of view. From the Verge:
    More recently, she’s begun raising privacy concerns related to Apple’s policies on how it can search and surveil employees’ work phones. Sooo, #Apple has pics of my *****. During a discovery thing 3yr ago, legal forced me to hand-over all my texts. They refused to let me delete anything, even "fully personal," even when I said "by fully personal I mean nudes." They said they're in their "permanent evidence locker" — Ashley M. Gjøvik (@ashleygjovik) August 19, 2021 So she has nude pictures of herself (not that she shouldn't) on her work phone (probably not there though), presumably provided by her employer, and has issues with privacy concerns with her 'work phone' and has been spouting off about her privacy concerns on public forums, after having been investigated about a "sensitive intellectual property matter".