The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) confirmed on December 13 that it is investigating an Apple whistleblower’s allegations that she was retaliated against for voicing concerns about workplace safety.
Ashley Gjovik worked at Apple as a Senior Engineering Program Manager for almost 7 years, according to her website. Financial Times reports that Gjovik was fired in September for allegedly leaking confidential information.” According to the Financial Times article, Gjovik alleges that she was fired “under a false pretext following numerous complaints that led to more than a dozen instances of retaliation including job reassignment.”
The Financial Times article reports that Gjovik filed her first complaint in mid-March “when she cited ‘chemical exposure’ concerns at her Apple office.” According to the article, the office “is located on a Superfund site, requiring special oversight owing to previous contamination by hazardous waste materials beneath the building.” Gjovik asked questions in response to an email regarding testing the site for “vapour intrusion,” but her queries “were rebuffed by Apple’s employee relations department.”
“They intimidated me not to speak about my safety concerns,” Gjovik alleged in the article. On her website, she writes that she brought her concerns to “Federal and state EPA” and “began organizing with other employees around concerns about retaliation and intimidation by Apple’s HR & employee relations teams.” Gjovik states that when she was put on “indefinite paid administrative leave” and then fired from Apple, she filed complaints to numerous agencies including the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal and state Departments of Labor, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
\According to the article published in The New York Times, the DOL “declined to say who had requested the investigation or what it was about.” However, Gjovik says “she had filed the complaint ‘to ensure Apple knows they cannot get away with retaliating against me for exercising my federally and state-protected rights.’”
The New York Times obtained a letter from DOL to Gjovik that said “the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Whistleblower Protection Program, which is in charge of enforcing anti-retaliation laws, will conduct an investigation.”
On December 13, Apple “reiterated its previous statement about workers’ labor complaints, which said it is ‘deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive, inclusive workplace’ and that it investigates concerns and does not comment on specific employees,” according to the article.