#AppleToo organizer: a short chat with the laid off

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AppleToo organizer

Apple fired a leader of the #AppleToo movement on October 14 for allegedly not cooperating with an internal investigation. Janneke Parrish, the employee, has been working behind the scenes for months to organize coworkers who have been harassed or discriminated against.

Apple now appears to be ending those efforts, ostensibly to prevent inside information from leaking to the public. Ashley Gjvik was fired by Apple in September for allegedly violating her confidentiality agreement. She then put Cher Scarlett, a software engineer, on medical leave.

Both Gjvik and Scarlett have filed complaints with the NLRB. According to Parrish’s attorney, Vincent P. White of White, Hilferty and Albanese, Parrish intends to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and file a case with the NLRB.

The Verge spoke with Parrish about his organizing efforts and the circumstances surrounding his firing.

Tell me about your experiences in the last few months. With the letter from Antonio García Martínez you began the internal incidence, right?

Janneke Parrish (Janneke Parrish): Yeah, and that was the first time I saw that staff engagement at Apple made a difference. I was already on the remote work advocacy Slack channel at the time, and I wanted people to have the freedom to make the best decisions for themselves in terms of how and where to work.

However, we learned from Antonio García Martínez’s letter that activism can be beneficial, that when people speak, executives can pay attention. More letters from the remote working group followed, requesting more flexibility in where we worked. This time, however, we didn’t get the same response; instead, we were told, “We think we’d better be back in the office.”

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Employee advocacy is critical to ensuring our voices are heard, but there is a limit to what we can do internally. It’s better not to talk at all if you’re talking to people who don’t want to listen to you.

What led you and Cher Scarlett to collaborate on #AppleToo?

Cher was working on wage advocacy at the same time I was doing remote advocacy. We came together as a result of the need to lobby for pay equity, which became #AppleToo.

I was in charge of the employee stories section, which involved sharing the stories of people who had been abused and discriminated against, and who had tried to contact Apple through the recommended routes but received no response. It’s the story of distant advocacy being told on a grand scale across the company: that we are continually ignored and underappreciated.

I’m not sure how anyone can look at hundreds of stories like that and not act.

So that’s what I’ve been doing.

What effect has it had? You don’t seem to have received the same internal rejection that Cher and Ashley have.

I have received many encouraging notes, but not as many criticisms. I honestly have no idea why.

I’m in charge of a program. I am not an engineer and my department does not have the same level of visibility as theirs. I am in Maps and the visibility is not the same. I’m also trying to stay out of the spotlight.

And I’m not in California; I’m in Austin. Many of Apple’s arguments for getting back to work are California-centric and irrelevant to the people of Texas. They talk about bumping into people in the hallways. But in Austin, I never meet executives!

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On what date did the investigation begin?

On September 18, a town hall meeting was broadcast live. After that, Tim Cook wrote a note saying that he was disappointed and that he would track down the leakers. Following the publication of that document, Apple began to investigate the matter.

I was summoned to a meeting with global security and human resources on September 30 and was informed that I was being investigated for possibly leaking the meeting. My devices were seized, but not before I uninstalled apps that included personal information, like Robinhood. Apple is not interested in how much money I spent at GameStop. Political campaign work and information about Democratic political efforts must be kept private.

So before returning the devices, I wiped this data. They gave me a loan and told me to work, which I did.

On October 8th, I was contacted by global security and human resources, who informed me that I had been suspended and had borrowed my devices and disabled all my internal accounts. I was in the middle of a conversation with someone when my internal accounts went “deactivated”.

This slowed down my work too. The fact that it happened: I work at Maps and we handle extremely sensitive material, so keeping things hidden is critical to our success. So even though I was being investigated, my time at Maps was over.

I received a call from global security and human resources on Thursday, informing me that I had been fired for destroying the data.

Why was that personal data on your company computer in the first place?

We encourage you to try out the maps and new Maps features. Since I was the administrator of the tools program, I wanted to know if our tools were working correctly. Using my business phone as a personal phone allowed me to try things out in the field, which is something we are encouraged to do. Apple promotes the integration of [our personal and professional gadgets]. That sounded absolutely reasonable when I first got the phone. But, in retrospect, most likely not.

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What are your thoughts on why they let you go?

I feel like I was fired in retaliation for speaking out, for my work with #AppleToo, and because I was organizing a group to help other employees voice their stories. This, in my opinion, is mere punishment for trying to expose Apple’s wrongdoing and publicly urging the corporation to do better.

Now that you’ve been fired and Cher is on medical leave, is #AppleToo over?

No way, I don’t think so. I think Apple’s decision to fire an employee for speaking up and pushing the company to improve rather than improve really speaks volumes for the company and its goals. I hope people recognize Apple’s action for what it is: an inspiring decision. My mission is to make Apple better for everyone. And it seems that Apple is less concerned about this than I am.

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Source: condotel.edu.vn

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