An employee who was known to "speak out publicly against Apple" and lead organising efforts dubbed #AppleToo has been fired. She believes her termination was a form of retaliation.
Janneke Parrish, who was working as program manager for the Maps division of Apple, said she began the #AppleToo movement to ask the company "to do better [and] to end systemic discrimination, abuse, and pay inequity". People Matters reported on the employee movement.
While Apple declined to comment on Parrish's termination, the company said it takes all concerns seriously and "thoroughly investigates" them.
"We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace," Apple said in a statement.
HR and security investigations
Speaking to The Verge, Parrish said she was eventually fired after removing files and apps from her work devices during an internal investigation.
"On September 18th, there was a town hall [meeting] that was live leaked to you," Parrish said. "Afterward, Tim Cook sent out a memo saying we're disappointed and going to find the leakers. In the wake of that memo, Apple started doing investigations." Parrish said company officials subsequently summoned her for investigation.
"On September 30th, I was called into a meeting with HR and global security and told I was being investigated for possibly leaking the meeting. My devices were confiscated, but before they were, I deleted apps with personal information, like Robinhood. Apple doesn’t need to know how much money I lost on GameStop. I work on political campaigns, and Democratic political campaign information has to be kept private.
"So, before turning in the devices, I removed this information. I was given a loaner and asked to continue working, which I did.
"On October 8th, I was reached out to again by global security and HR, and they said I was being suspended and took the loaner devices and deactivated all my internal accounts. I was in mid-conversation with some people, and then my internal accounts immediately showed 'deactivated,'" she recounted.
Apple CEO Tim Cook had earlier released a memo expressing concerns of other employees who were purportedly "incredibly frustrated to see the contents of the meeting leak to reporters".
In September, the company also fired another employee – senior engineering program manager Ashley Gjovik – for allegedly leaking corporate data. However, Gjovik is challenging Cook's memo before the US National Labor Relations Board, claiming it violates employees' right to communicate with one another.