Apple HR mishandled allegations of serious misconduct; reprisals against certain women

A report today cites 15 different women accusing Apple HR of mishandling allegations of serious misconduct, and more than half say the company retaliated against them for filing the complaint.

One of the allegations concerned a sexual assault committed outside working hours and premises. This can be a tricky area for businesses – but the HR manager who responded was reportedly totally dismissive, likening the attack to “a minor traffic accident”…

The FinancialTimes reports of the sexual assault, in which a woman was partially undressed by a colleague while she slept.

Megan Mohr was five years into her career at Apple when, in 2013, a male colleague took advantage of her after a platonic night of drinking together.

After the colleague drove her home and helped her inside, she briefly fell asleep before waking up to the sound of a click. The colleague had taken off her shirt and bra. He was taking pictures and smiling.

Mohr said a previous bad experience with Apple HR meant she didn’t even bother to report the incident at the time, but then felt empowered to do so by the movement. #MeToo. However, he was told that Apple would not have acted at the time, even if the colleague had admitted the violation.

She had no evidence and was not calling for an investigation. She just thought HR should be aware of the person’s character and asked that they never be placed in the same department.

Mohr thought it was a modest request, but the email exchange seen by the Financial Times quickly became rigid and defensive. The HR representative showed little empathy or experience with sexual misconduct. He compared his experience to “a minor traffic accident” to explain how Apple couldn’t really get involved.

“While what he did was wrong as a person and potentially criminal, as an Apple employee, he did not violate any policies in the course of his work at Apple,” HR wrote. “And because he hasn’t violated any policies, we won’t prevent him from pursuing employment opportunities that match his goals and interests.” […]

“Unfortunately, the incident was not in the context of Apple’s work [so] it is very likely that an Apple investigation would have returned “no findings” and no penalties would be issued. Even though the offender reportedly admitted to taking the footage.

Mohr then left the company and says she wants Apple to live up to its claimed values.

“I just want Apple to be the company it claims to be for its customers. »

Employment law attorneys say incidents unrelated to work can cause legal problems for companies, but in general, in the United States, employees can be fired for their behavior outside of work.

A white woman called the police after a black man birdwatching in New York’s Central Park asked her to put his dog on a leash. She was charged with a crime – filing a false police report. Her employer, investment firm Franklin Templeton, fired her soon after. A New Hampshire radio host has lost her show after posting a video of herself demanding that Latino landscapers speak English. A Florida insurance agency has fired an employee following his outburst at Costco when asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask.

California has additional protections that make it a bit more difficult, but even then an employer can assess the likely impact on the business and act accordingly.

Even in [states like California], employers have a lot of leeway to maintain a safe and peaceful workplace. If someone’s behavior outside of work reveals a side of them that may jeopardize their relationships with co-workers or clients, or suggests that they might be prone to violence or aggression, employers would be advised to fire him, says Kate Bischoff, a Minnesota labor attorney and founder of tHRive Law & Consulting. “In today’s world, the line between the personal and the professional is so blurred that you can’t necessarily separate them,” she adds.

The FT The article says the newspaper interviewed 15 current and former Apple employees in at least seven Apple departments spanning six US states.

The women shared allegations of Apple’s apathy over misconduct complaints. Eight of them say they experienced retaliation, while seven found HR disappointing or counterproductive.

Apple said it wants to have “an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting any issues,” but acknowledges that work is needed to address reported deficiencies.

“Some accounts raised do not reflect our intentions or policies and we should have treated them differently, including some exchanges reported in this story,” Apple said. “As a result, we will be making changes to our training and processes. He declined to comment on specific cases “out of respect for the privacy of those involved.”

This isn’t the first time Apple HR has been accused of ignoring gross misconduct complaints.

So far we have received almost 500 responses and hundreds of stories of racism, sexism, discrimination, retaliation, bullying, sexual harassment and other forms of harassment. […] The conducting wire ? Being ignored by HR.

Photo: Tim Gouw/Unsplash

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