Apple sends female employee home after raising sexist concerns


Ashley Gjøvik, senior engineering program manager at Apple has been coming to work for years complaining about her experiences with sexism, a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions, and retaliation. 

Her request was simple, she asked Apple to mitigate the hostile work environment while they investigate. 

“Initially Apple offered me EAP therapy and medical leave. I told them that made no sense and said they should talk to my leadership and set up oversight and boundaries. I added that if there was no other option, they could give me paid administrative leave,” Gjøvik told The Verge

However, Apple didn’t seem so keen on putting effort into solving Gjøvik’s concerns, prompting her to take the issue publicly. 

After tweeting her sexist concerns grounded in Apple’s workplace, the program manager surely didn’t expect the reaction to her worries. 

The world’s most valuable tech company placed the female employee on an indefinite leave, causing a severe backlash after Gjøvik took to Twitter, yet again, to publicize Apple’s blow. 

“So, following raising concerns to #Apple about #sexism, #hostileworkenvironment, & #unsafeworkconditions, I’m now on indefinite paid administrative leave per #Apple employee relations, while they investigate my concerns. This seems to include me not using Apple’s internal Slack,” Gjøvik said in a tweet. 

In addition to being informally kicked out of Apple’s workforce, Apple’s employee relations team implied that she should remain off the company’s internal Slack, as it’s prohibited to discuss with other employees the company’s policies. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Gjøvik raises concerns over gender discrimination in what’s supposed to be a “futuristic” environment. In the past, Apple closed an investigation prompted by the engineering program manager, concluding that nothing inappropriate was found. 

Yet, Gjøvik’s tweets showcasing messages received from her male coworkers tell a different story.  

Apple is undoubtedly in hot water, as the tech giant’s employees are coming together to speak out about the company’s work environment. 

In May, former Facebook product manager Antonio Garcia Martinez was hired by Apple, then quickly fired, following public and internal demands for his removal, citing Martinez’s sexist statements made in the past. 

However, there may be a silver lining. 

Tech firms that are newly emerging to the scene are becoming more aware of the social issues faced by employees, with an emphasis on gender issues. For example, Slack, the business communication platform is widely praised for ensuring diversity during its early stages, instead of going back later on to reconfigure it.  

When Slack was awarded the TechCrunch prize for Fastest Rising Startup, the tech firm sent four black female software engineers, instead of CEO Stewart Butterfield, to accept the award.  

Maybe Apple isn’t the only one learning a lesson from Ashley Gjøvik.