Apple employees who are victims of sexual assault are not defended by the company?

Deepak Gupta August 4, 2022
Updated 2022/08/04 at 4:30 PM

Work environments are often a reflection of the way companies are managed. When a company like Apple assumes a role before society in order to protect employees from situations of aggression (of any kind), it has to comply.

However, female employees accuse the company of not only not being protected after the allegations, but also suffering retaliation.

Apple does not defend women?

The Financial Times published a article titled The women calling out Apple's handling of misconduct claimswhich reveals that Apple fostered a culture of apathy toward reports of employee misconduct and actively retaliated against employees who complained about colleagues, including those who reported incidents of sexual assault.

If true, these claims contradict the image of inclusion that Apple projects and undermine the real progress the company has made in increasing the diversity of its workforce.

Several women revealed that they had filed complaints with Apple's human resources department for sexual abuse, bullying and other incidents. Former employee Megan Mohr exposed the situation where a colleague took her bra and clothes while she slept and took pictures of her after a night they spent together. However, the HR department representative dubbed the experience "a minor traffic accident".

To the Financial Times, the company's HR department, stated that, despite being a reprehensible attitude, the truth is that it did not violate any Apple policies in the work context. Therefore, the company is not obliged to prevent the accused person from continuing to carry out his work.

Image Tim Cook, Apple CEO

In another case, an Apple Store Genius employee complained of two cases of serious sexual assault, including rape, and said that HR treated her not as a victim, but as the problem. According to this woman, the department told her that the alleged rapist would be out for 6 months, and by that time, perhaps, she would be "better". Furthermore, she asked for a transfer to another place of work which was ultimately refused.

The cases are multiplying

The company's intellectual property attorney, Margaret Anderson, spoke of a "toxic work environment" and "gaslighting" and said a male vice president wanted to fire her, citing false allegations leading up to her arrival at Apple. HR allegedly ignored a document she created refuting the allegations.

Employees also complain that Apple suppressed workers' organization and blocked Slack channels used by employees to complain about bad managers and pay inequality. Software engineer Cher Scarlett said that after she filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), she suffered retaliation from Apple. The company offered her a $213,000 compensation package, but she declined because Apple required her to deliver the letter sent to the NLRB that included the names of other employees.

The complaint that received the most attention was that of Jayne Whitt, director of Apple's legal department. The woman told HR that a colleague hacked into her devices and made death threats, with the expectation that the complaint would be taken seriously. Instead, the staff investigation division said Whitt "did not act in a professional and proper manner" during the meeting, at which point Whitt "said she was begging for help and reliving trauma".

The woman who denounced the situation in a text of 2800 words in The Lioness, was fired. The disadvantage that women face within Apple seems to be more than evident and the company continues to deny and claim good practices in the protection of workers and equal opportunities and pay.

The company's response

Apple in response told the Financial Times in a statement that it works hard to thoroughly investigate allegations of misconduct and strives to create "an environment where employees feel comfortable raising any concerns." However, he acknowledged not always having fulfilled these ideals.

"There are some accounts raised that do not reflect our intentions or policies and we should have handled them differently, including certain exchanges reported in this story. As a result, we will make changes to the processes and the lineup itself." In response to particular cases, he said he would not comment.

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