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Apple faces probe from US labor board over complaints of hostile working conditions

·Associate Editor
·2-min read

Apple has been under fire lately after current and former employees shared stories of harassment, retaliation and sexism in the company. Now, the US National Labor Relations Board is looking into cases filed against the tech giant by two of the main voices accusing the company of permitting a hostile work environment, according to Reuters and The Financial Times. The first complaint was filed by Ashley Gjøvik, the senior engineering program manager who said she spent months talking with the company about unsafe working conditions and sexism in the workplace.

In a tweet, she said that after raising her concerns, she was put on indefinite paid administrative leave while Apple looks into them. Further, she said Apple implied that the company didn't want her to use Slack, where she'd been vocal about her criticisms. Gjøvik filed a "Charge against Employer" complaint, The Times says, alleging 13 instances of alleged retaliation against her. Those instances include workplace harassment, reassigning her supervisory responsibilities to colleagues and giving her undesirable tasks

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The second complaint the labor board is investigation was filed by Cher Scarlett, on behalf of herself and other employees, on September 1st. Scarlett is a security engineer at the company and is the face of the #AppleToo movement made up of current and former employees aiming to shine a light on the tech giant's workplace culture. The group said it collected over 500 stories of incidents involving discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and it recently started sharing them five stories at a time. Her case accuses Apple of suppressing workers' organizing efforts, specifically when they involve pay surveys and gender pay equity.

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It's worth noting that the labor board looks into all the complaints it receives, and it will only prosecute a case if it finds merit in them. As for Apple, the company told the publications in a statement: "We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace. We take all concerns seriously and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters.”

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