White Female Apple Manager Says Bosses Said She Was ‘Too Hard on White Men during Diversity Training’
Brian Stieglitz, Daily Mail, August 5, 2021
A white, female Apple manager said she’s been placed on administrative leave this week after complaining about hostile treatment, including that managers told her she was too hard on white men during diversity training and speaks with a Valley Girl tone.
The tech giant also barred the employee, Ashley Gjøvik, from using its Slack channel while on leave and from meeting one-on-one with other female employees to discuss her issues with the company, she said in an interview with The Verge.
Over the past month, Gjøvik has been vocal on Twitter about her experiences. After she was placed on leave, she tweeted, ‘So, following raising concerns to #Apple about #sexism, #hostileworkenvironment, & #unsafeworkconditions, I’m now on indefinite paid administrative leave per #Apple employee relations, while they investigate my concerns. This seems to include me not using Apple’s internal Slack.’
Gjøvik set an out-of-office message to let her colleagues know she had been placed on indefinite paid leave Wednesday.
Gjøvik told The Verge that she asked for months that Apple address her concerns, adding that she provided them with 558 ‘pieces of evidence to review.’ In response, she said that the company offered her Employee Assistant Program 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,’ she said. ‘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.’
Late last month, Gjøvik retweeted a New York Times story in which a number of women working at Google said they also were offered EAP therapy or administrative leave after asking the company to address workplace misconduct.
She posted another example referencing an incident she said was ignored by employee relations, in which she led a diversity training exercise and was told by management that she was being too hard on white people.
It reads, ‘Today’s #Apple ’employee relations said this is ok’ example: I led an I&D training for my #bigtech all male mgmt team and got complaints I was ‘too hard on the #whiteman’ and told to only talk about ‘#equalopportunity but not #equaloutcomes.’ Employee relations said that’s okay.’
Her tweets come during a rise in employee activism in Silicon Valley.
Tech writer Casey Newton, founder and editor of Platformer, noted the trend in a recent article and wrote, ‘Suddenly at Apple, as everywhere else, managers can only stand back and watch as workers reshape the bounds of what will be permitted at work.’
Newton’s article came in May after 2,000 Apple employees signed a petition to oust a new hire, Antonio García Martínez, over controversial passages from his 2016 memoir, Chaos Monkeys, written after he was fired from Facebook in 2013. The petition called them sexist and racist.
Colleagues flagged his book’s claims that ‘women are ‘full of sh*t’ and another excerpt likening a former Indian coworker to a ‘bored auto-rickshaw driver from Delhi’.
The petition also was leaked to media outlets, which is unprecedented at Apple, known for making employees sign project-specific NDAs to prevent them from sharing information even with family members.
In 2018, the company sent a note to employees saying that it caught 29 people leaking company information and had 12 arrested. In the note, the company also threatened to fire and even sue workers who shared product information.
But employees have recently pushed back against the culture of secrecy. A group of Muslim employees wrote a letter to Apple asking for the company to release a statement in support of Palestinian civilians affected by violence in Gaza. When CEO Tim Cook didn’t respond, someone leaked the letter to The Verge.