Senior Apple employee alleges sexism at work, is put on indefinite leave

She says Apple has implied she shouldn't use company Slack channels.

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Karissa Bell
August 5th, 2021
In this article: apple, news, gear, labor
TOKYO, JAPAN - 2021/05/25: Apple brand logo seen inside an Apple store in Omotesando, Tokyo. (Photo by Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images via Getty Images

Apple is facing questions about its handling of sexism in the workplace after it placed a female employee on leave following tweets about her experiences at the company. Ashley Gjøvik, a senior engineering program manager with Apple, says she has spent months speaking with Apple about unsafe working conditions, sexism and a hostile work environment.

Her comments were first reported by The Verge, which notes the company closed a previous investigation into Gjøvik's claims — apparently without taking any action. Gjøvik said Apple initially responded to her complaints of sexism by suggesting she request “disability accommodations.”

On Wednesday, she was placed on “indefinite paid administrative leave” while Apple conducts a new investigation. In a statement to The Verge, she said the company “implied they did not want me on Slack where I had been vocal about my concerns with certain policies at the company.”

In a series of tweets, Gjøvik provided several examples of interactions she brought to the attention of Apple’s employee relations, who allegedly told her the behavior was “ok.” In one exchange, a manager referred to her “tone” in presentations, and said “I didn’t hear you going up an octave at the end of your statements.” She added that comments about her tone were also included in a mid-year review at one point.

She also said that Apple employee relations told her it was “okay” after she received complaints that a diversity training she led was “too hard on the white man.” In another exchange, she said a “heartfelt email” asking leadership to show “support of women and condemn sexism and sexual assault” in 2018 was brushed off — an interaction the company’s employee relations also allegedly said was okay. 

"We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “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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