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Friday, November 26, 2021

Apple employee leading #AppleToo event says she was fired

Originally Published: October 15th 21 18:40 ET

By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business

(CNN) – An Apple employee leading efforts against harassment and discrimination within the company said she has been fired.

Janneke Parish, a program manager for Apple and one of the organizers of the #AppleToo movement, was suspended last weekend and terminated on Thursday, she told CNN Business in an interview on Friday. Parish said Apple told him he was fired for deleting files from his work devices before being handed over to the company as part of an internal investigation into the leaks to the press.

The move marks the latest in a growing rift between Apple and its employees, who have broken the company’s historical culture of secrecy in recent months to speak on controversial hiring decisions, alleged pay disparity and remote working policies.

Parish and an associate, Cher Scarlett, created #AppleToo in August to help Apple employees “organize and keep themselves safe,” according to the movement’s website. He called on colleagues to share stories of those issues, including racism, sexism and discrimination, to “underscore the changes we expect to see Apple see.”

Parish told CNN Business Friday that in the weeks since then she has received hundreds of reports, ranging from “sexism and ageism to revelations of rape and suicide.”

Apple did not comment specifically on Parish’s firing. Scarlett, who remains at the company, declined to comment.

“We are always committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace,” Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said in a statement to CNN. “We take all concerns seriously and we conduct a thorough investigation whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of anyone involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters.”

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According to Parish, the company began its investigation on September 30, when CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees warning that “people leaking confidential information are not here.” The memo, and leaks from a former town hall meeting that inspired it, were first reported by The Verge.

Parrish, who said she was not behind the leaks but had spoken publicly to the press about problems at Apple, was asked to hand over her work-released devices to the company, but she had already said something personal. Information was removed.

“Apple encourages us to fully merge our personal and work devices for testing purposes,” she said. “I had some private conversations, private information like Robinhood investments, things that are obviously not in Apple’s business to know.”

She said those deletions were cited by Apple as the reason for her dismissal.

Parish questioned whether she plans further action against Apple against her attorney, Chris Albanese, who told CNN Business that he is “exploring all different avenues on behalf of our customer.”

The goal behind launching #AppleToo, Parish said, was to draw attention to “systemic issues” within Apple’s culture that have been “systemically swept under the rug” by the company.

“One thing about Apple’s culture is that it’s a deeply secretive company,” she said, adding that employees in the office often don’t know what the person next to them is working at. “With #AppleToo and with remote work…we are no longer alone, we are no longer isolated, and we are recognizing what one of us experiences, what many of us experience Huh.”

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