A civil rights enforcement agency has given the green light to an Apple employee who spoke out publicly about workplace issues and was recently fired for allegedly leaking confidential information to sue her now-former employer.
After she was fired this week, Ashley Gjovik, a former Apple engineering manager who filed complaints alleging coworker harassment, said she received right-to-sue notices.
Apple reportedly fired a former Apple engineering manager who filed a complaint with the US National Labor Relations Board last month alleging she was harassed and retaliated against. California and US civil rights agencies have now given her permission to sue her former employer, she claims.
After months of publicly discussing harassment from coworkers, managers, and Apple’s administrative teams, Ashley Gjovik was fired from Apple, according to news outlets.
Following her complaints about a hostile work environment, she was placed on administrative leave in the summer.
Gjovik, who is one of at least two Apple employees who have filed harassment and work culture complaints with government authorities in recent months, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the right-to-sue notices. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, despite previously declining to discuss individual employee matters.
“Apple has an internal culture of surveillance, intimidation and alienation,” Gjovik tweeted on August 30.
The government’s approval of Gjovik’s lawsuit against Apple is the latest in a wave of employee protests at the iPhone maker this year. Employees have circulated internal petitions and informal surveys in recent months, opposing Apple’s back-to-work plans and advocating for more flexible working conditions.
Employees have also slammed Apple’s plans to scan some US customers’ iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers for images of child exploitation, fearing censorship or arrest by repressive governments.
Apple has since delayed its plans.
Current and former Apple employees have been increasingly using Twitter to air their grievances under the hashtag #AppleToo, which is intended to raise awareness about Apple’s toxic workplace culture and encourage change.
Last week, the group wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company’s senior leadership, urging the company to improve its treatment of employees and “fulfill its promise of inclusion, diversity, and equity.”
The group requested increased personal information privacy, transparent and fair compensation, an audit of all third-party relationships, increased accountability across leadership and human resource teams, and a process for sharing group concerns in the letter.
All reports of “racism, discrimination, abuse, harassment, concerted activity suppression, and retaliation” at Apple should be investigated again, the letter requested.
Gjovik stated on Twitter that while she is not a part of the #AppleToo movement, she applauds their efforts. She’s also shared her story widely on social media, including screenshots of some of the emails and exchanges she had with the hostile environment. She expressed her desire to hold the company accountable as well.
“I have to think they know that I’m not going to let it go,” she said in an interview on Friday. “I still am very much devoted to holding them accountable for this and trying to make things better for my colleagues and other people in workplaces like this.”