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A brief conversation with the fired #AppleToo organizer

A brief conversation with the fired #AppleToo organizer

On October 14, Apple fired a leader of the #AppleToo movement for allegedly failing to comply with an internal investigation. Employee, Janneke Parish, has been working behind the scenes for months to organize fellow activists facing harassment and discrimination.

Now, Apple seems to be cracking down on those efforts -- under the guise of trying to prevent internal information from leaking to the press. In September, Apple fired Ashley Gojovic for allegedly violating its confidentiality agreement. Then, it put software engineer Cher Scarlett on medical leave.

Both Gjøvik and Scarlett have filed claims with the NLRB. Parish's attorney, Vincent P. White of White, Hilferty and Albanese, told The Verge that Parish plans to sue for wrongful dismissal and will also file a charge with the NLRB.

Parish spoke with The Verge about his organizing efforts and the circumstances surrounding its completion.

Janecke Parish: Yeah, and it was the first time I really saw employee activism being affected at Apple. I was already in the remote work advocacy Slack channel at the time, I wanted people to be able to make the best decisions for them about how and where they work.

But with the letter from Antonio García Martínez, we saw that activism can be effective – when we speak, officers can listen. This has led to more letters from remote working groups in which we ask for flexibility in terms of working. But we didn't get the same response this time around — the response was essentially, "We think it's better to be back in the office."

Employee advocacy is incredibly important in helping our voices be heard, but there is a limit to what we can do internally. If you're talking to people who don't want to listen to you, you might not be speaking at all.

How did you and Cher Scarlett start working together on #AppleToo?

When I was doing this work with Remote Advocacy, Cher was working with Pay Advocacy. We got through the need to advocate for pay equity and turn it into #AppleToo.

I pioneered the employee stories component – ​​telling the stories of workers who have been abused and discriminated against, reached through the channels Apple tells us and heard nothing. This is the story of distance advocacy being told widely throughout the business – that we are constantly being ignored and devalued.

What has been the effect? It sounds like you haven't got the same pushback internally as Cher and Ashley.

I have received a lot of useful messages, and no, I have not received that much criticism. I honestly don't know why.

I am a program manager. I'm not an engineer, and I'm in a department that doesn't have the same visibility as theirs. I am in the map, and its visibility is not the same. I also keep myself away from limelight.

And I'm in Austin, not California. A lot of Apple's arguments about being back in the office are California-focused and don't apply to people in Texas. They talk about meeting people in the hall - I never get hanged in Austin!

When did the investigation begin?

On September 18th, there was a town hall that was leaked live for you. And later, Tim Cook sent a memo saying we were disappointed and were going to find the leakers. In the wake of that memo, Apple launched an investigation.

On 30 September, I was called for a meeting with Human Resources and Global Security and was told that I was being investigated for potentially leaking the meeting. My devices were confiscated, but before they were, I had removed apps containing personal information, such as Robinhood. Apple doesn't need to know how much money I've lost at Gamestop. I work on political campaigns, and democratic political campaign information has to be kept private.

So before turning on the devices, I removed this information. I was given a loan and asked to continue, which I did.

On October 8th, I was contacted again by Global Security and Human Resources, and they said I was being suspended and took over the debt collector's instruments and disabled all my internal accounts. I was chatting with a few people, and then my internal accounts immediately showed "inactive".

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