Labor Department opens investigation into Apple's treatment of employee

iPhone event
iPhone event (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple is under investigation over the treatment of its employees.
  • The Labor Department says it is investigating whether Apple retaliated against an Apple employee.
  • Ashley Gjovik raised multiple issues over her treatment at work including harassment, before eventually being fired.

Apple appears to be under investigation from the US Department of Labor over claims it retaliated against employee-turned-whistleblower Ashley Gjovik, who was fired by the company in September.

Multiple reports indicate the investigation is underway. From the NYT:

The Labor Department has opened a whistle-blower investigation into Apple, a department spokeswoman said Monday, adding to a litany of recent charges made to federal and state agencies about the company by current and former employees.

The Finacial times carries the same report. According to the former, the Department has not disclosed the nature of the investigation, but it appears to stem from a complaint filed by Ashley Gjovik, a former senior engineering program manager at Apple.

The department declined to say who had requested the investigation or what it was about, but Ashley Gjovik, a former employee who has been outspoken about misconduct at Apple, said she had filed the complaint "to ensure Apple knows they cannot get away with retaliating against me for exercising my federally and state-protected rights."

Gjovik raised multiple issues about her time at Apple including complaints of intimidation and harassment in the workplace. She also cited issues of surveillance and an issue of chemical exposure at an Apple office in Sunnyvale, California, located on a hazardous waste site.

According to the FT, the department will investigate whether Apple retaliated against Gjovik over claims "about occupational safety and hazardous waste management liability", as well as a third allegation over financial record keeping. Gjovik reportedly previously pointed out an Apple board member and chief of its audit committee had previously worked as the chief executive of the defense company responsible for the waste materials at the site.

Gjovik was fired by the company in September over claims she had leaked confidential information about the company. In response the Financial Times reports a statement from Apple:

Apple declined to discuss specific employee matters, citing privacy but 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."

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. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9