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Apple employees organize and push to address workplace misconduct

They have launched a website called AppleToo where employees can share stories of what it’s like to work at Apple.

Allie Nawrat

AppleToo workplace misconduct
Credit: MAO UY via Twenty20.

Unleash Your WorkforceAppleToo aims to overcome an alleged culture of “isolation, degradation and gaslighting” in the company.

“We’ve exhausted all internal avenues. We’ve talked with our leadership. We’ve gone to the People team. We’ve escalated through Business Conduct. Nothing has changed.”

Therefore, some Apple employees have decided to organize by launching a space called AppleToo where former and current staff at the tech giant can share their workplace stories of “racism, sexism, inequality, discrimination, intimidation, suppression, coercion, abuse, unfair punishment, and unchecked privilege.”

They claim that this is necessary – “it is time to think different” – because Apple has created a “culture of secrecy” where the company becomes “an opaque, intimidating fortress” where criticism is greeted with “isolation, degradation and gaslighting”.

This is allegedly the case around pay transparency – according to Input mag, the AppleToo group claim the company has been shutting down employee run surveys that give workers an idea of how their compensation compares to their colleagues.

The group, which The Verge reports is made of up around 15 employees, is being supported by Timnit Gebru, a former Apple employee who then went to work at Google and recently spoke publicly about her experience of racism and discrimination at Google.

However, now she is also talking about the “egregious things” she experienced while working at Apple as well. “I’m happy to see that Apple workers are organizing. It is past time for Apple to be held accountable, she told the Verge.

AppleToo aims to draft a statement compiling incidents and stories shared anonymously with it and the changes it wants the company to make.

They are also considering creating a union – something which is starting to become the norm at tech companies – and would allow for collective bargaining around workplace changes at the tech employer.

These reports of discrimination, bullying, abuse and harassment at Apple go against the public perception of the tech’s workplace.

Part of the reason why the company has managed to foster a reputation as a good employer, according to AppleToo, is because its high salaries come with demands of loyalty and not discussing what happens internally at the company, both in terms of workplace practices and product development.

Zippia reports that the average salary at the tech giant is $98,483 per year or $47.33 per hour; minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour.

However, this is not the first crack to show in the workplace culture Apple would like to present to the world.

One recent example is an employee called Ashley Gjøvik who spoke out in August about being put on administrative leave for raising concerns about sexism, hostility and toxicity in Apple’s workplace.

According to The Telegraph, Gjøvik is among Apple employees who feel their needs and preferences are ignored by Apple senior leadership, especially around the benefits of flexible and remote working.

This group of employees (it is unclear how much overlap there is between this group and the new AppleToo set) are, therefore, pushing back against the employer’s call for everyone to return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. They claim that some colleagues have been forced to quit because of this call back into the office.

“Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being and being empowered to do our best work, or being part of Apple,” they wrote in a letter to senior management.

UNLEASH reached out to Apple for a comment, but is yet to receive a reply.

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