The US company has been accused of not taking seriously the harassment reported by fifteen of its employees. According to the Financial Times, some have been paid months of salary against a promise not to publicly criticize Apple and not initiate lawsuits.
Fifteen past and present Apple employees have accused the Apple brand’s human resources department of not taking them seriously or retaliating when they reported harassment. Financial Times. The British newspaper described the women’s experiences in an article Thursday, based on interviews with them and other staff members of the group and confidential documents.
They describe “disappointing or counter-productive” reactions from human resources departments and, in some cases, retaliation. Apple did not immediately respond to AFP’s request, but indicated to the daily that it is investigating the complaints from employees and plans to change its training.
In six cases, the women who reported the harassment were deemed bad employees and left the company, according to the Financial Times. Some were paid several months’ salary in return for promises not to criticize Apple in public and not to sue. Since the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017, many women working in the male-dominated Silicon Valley have spoken out against patriarchal and sexist cultures and behaviors.
One of the Apple employees cited by the Financial Times, Megan More, said in 2018 that she was inspired by the movement to decide to report to HR that a co-worker took off her shirt and took a photo of her drunk. But according to the article, the company told him that this behavior, while potentially criminal, did not violate any rules in the context of his work. He quit after 14 years with the iPhone maker.
Another employee quoted in the paper, Jayna Witt, described in a blog how she was reprimanded for letting a personal relationship interfere with her work. Her affair with the lawyer for the group turned sour, and she tried to expose him to physical and emotional abuse. Apple employs 165,000 people worldwide.
In 2018, from Singapore to California, thousands of Google workers went on strike to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment. This summer, employees at Activision Blizzard Studios rallied against internal harassment and discrimination. In December, six women filed a complaint against Tesla, citing a series of sexual harassment incidents and retaliation against complainants at the automaker’s California plant.