Apple workers' complaints leaked

By Frank Chung

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new iPhone 7 during an event last week. Photo / AP
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new iPhone 7 during an event last week. Photo / AP

At Apple, "white male privilege runs unchecked", according to a litany of employee complaints detailed in leaked emails that allege a "sexist, toxic" work environment at the tech giant.

In more than 50 pages of emails, obtained by millennial news website Mic, female employees shared their experiences of working in a "white, male, Christian, misogynist, sexist environment".

The various email threads contain details of incidents of alleged discrimination and harassment at Apple - a male-dominated company in which women only make up only 32 per cent of the workforce.

At one point, a female engineer was so offended by a co-worker's comments she went straight to the top. "Rape jokes in work chat is basically where I completely draw the limit," she wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"I do not feel safe at a company that tolerates individuals who make rape jokes." The woman said she did not receive a response.

Mic reports that another employee emailed her HR contact with a "plea for help" after a harrowing experience during a meeting in which she was the only woman among more than a dozen men.

"The conversation turned to all of the men being dismissive about their wives and their significant others," she wrote.

"I felt very uncomfortable of the reality that I was the only woman in the room as all of my male co-workers stereotyped women as nags and this was not countered by my manager as being inappropriate."

In a separate incident, the same worker described passing a group of managers as she was walking back to her desk from the break room. "The area manager told me to smile as I walked past," she wrote.

"While this is a small thing, it was notable as this is one of the most commonly reported forms of subtle sexism."

The worst part is, you don't know who to trust and who you can reach out to without continued harassment and retaliation.
One woman's complaint to Apple

In another email, a former contractor described her experience of interviewing for a full-time position, where the man who interviewed her started by asking, "You're not technical, are you?"

The woman said if the interviewer "were familiar with my actual work, he could not in good conscience say such a thing".

"My response to his condescension was to discuss advanced learning theory and the use of metaphor and semiotics along with the theoretical foundations of design patterns," she wrote.

Other workers complained of being passed over for leadership positions.

"White male privilege runs unchecked," one woman wrote. "The worst part is, you don't know who to trust and who you can reach out to without continued harassment and retaliation. I am beyond discouraged and disheartened at my treatment and the lack of follow-up."

Eventually, many said they were forced to quit out of frustration.

"With such love for a company that does so much good, it is with a heavy heart that I declare my resignation from Apple," one person wrote.

"Despite all attempts to seek justice within this corporation, the cries of several minority employees about the toxic and oppressive environment have gone unanswered.

"I have witnessed the complete and utter disenfranchising of the voices of men and women of colour and the fault lies not only in the direct management staff but in the response of those tasked with protecting employee rights."

Another woman told Mic that several people had quit citing a "white, male, Christian, misogynist, sexist environment".

"Their departure is being written up as a positive attrition," she said.

- news.com.au

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