Gjøvik Helps Labor US Found That Apple Infringed Worker Rights

Gita Fitria Ramadani . January 31, 2023

Picture: forbes

Techspace - The allegations that Apple's top executives had broken federal labor laws were supported by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Techcrunch and Reuters report that the NLRB also found Apple unlawfully interfered with labor organizing at Atlanta and New York City retail stores.

Ashley Gjøvik, an ex-senior engineer program manager at Apple, brought these charges.

Gjøvik explained in an email to TechCrunch that Apple's career guidelines "coercively silence Apple employees and chill them from engaging in protected activity through over-broad and vague terms, as well as through the implication of constant surveillance."


As part of her NLRB complaint, Gjøvik submitted several documents, including an email from CEO Tim Cook. Cook wrote a memo to employees in response to a journalist's live tweet of an Apple all-hands meeting in September 2021, expressing his dissatisfaction with media leaks.

"I want to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to locate those responsible for the leak. As you are aware, we do not permit the disclosure of confidential information, such as product intellectual property or meeting specifics," Cook wrote. "We are aware that the leakers are few and far between. We also know that individuals who disclose private information do not belong here."

According to the findings, a representative from the NLRB told TechCrunch that Apple's confidentiality policies, handbook policies, and work rules "tend to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their right to protected concerted activity."

According to labor law, this "protected concerted" activity includes, among other things, talking openly about pay and benefits with coworkers or speaking to the media. Threatening or questioning employees about their involvement in these behaviors is against the law.

Gjøvik spoke out against the sexism she experienced at work and Apple's surveillance of its employees even while the company still employed her.

TechCrunch reported last year on Gjøvik's whistleblower complaints regarding the biometric data-gathering app Gobbler (also known as Glimmer); It would appear that this was a step in the Face ID product development process.

Gjøvik claimed in her complaint to international oversight bodies that she was made to believe that testing the Gobbler app was required.

Gjøvik made the following claim at the time, "Apple was pressuring employees to upload their 'faceprint data' to Apple internal servers, capturing secret photographs and videos of employees, and telling employees that face-related logs were automatically uploaded from their iPhones daily."

She added that it was unclear which of her data was being uploaded or which Apple organizations had access to her personal information. According to The Verge, Apple employees frequently face systematic restrictions that prevent them from keeping separate Apple IDs and cellphones for work and personal use.

Ashley Gjøvik Was Fired

Picture: appleinsider

Apple had issued a warning to Ashley Gjøvik. She received an email at the beginning of September 2021 asking to "speak privately" about a "sensitive Intellectual Property matter."

According to emails, Gjøvik agreed to cooperate immediately and said she was "happy to help!". Despite Apple's claim that the situation was complicated, no discussion occurred. Emails between the two parties demonstrate that Gjøvik's repeated attempts to comply with demands were utterly ignored.

Apple fired Gjøvik for leaking confidential information. After reporting to the EPA that her office was constructed on the triple site of toxic waste in Silicon Valley, where cracks in the floor exposed employees to carcinogenic fumes, she told TechCrunch that she believed she was fired in retaliation.

Gjøvik's claims that she was unlawfully fired due to speaking out about working conditions have yet to be decided by the NLRB.

Apple stated that it would evaluate the company's efforts to comply with its human rights policy "as it relates to workers' freedom of association and collective bargaining rights" by the end of the year, following investor pressure. Concerning allegations that the business attempted to control what employees said about their departures, other regulators have intervened.

Following a more significant wave of union organizing last year and attempts to unionize in some of Apple's retail locations, the labor board has taken action. Over the past year, Apple shares have lost 18%; on Monday, they finished 2% lower. In that time, the S&P 500 index has lost 11%.

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