#AppleToo: Digest #52
One of the goals of #AppleToo is to ensure that all those who have not had a voice, all those who sought help and found none, get a voice. Each of the stories included in this digest was submitted by a current or former Apple employee. These stories represent a systemic issue and the need to do better.
We further emphasise that attempting to silence one voice does not silence the voices of all those who suffered, nor does it erase or delegitimise the stories we are sharing. We will continue to share these stories in the hopes that Apple will create a better environment for all its employees, and will be sharing them until we receive resolution.
It is our hope that in sharing these stories, we can bring some resolution. We are honoured to share these stories, and by the trust that each story represents. Even one story is too many. Each story is a person who suffered, and in many cases, continued to suffer in a hostile environment.
We are publishing these stories in batches of five because the emotional weight of them is substantial. They represent five parts of the larger story of systemic issues that must be addressed.
Classism and racism
After 2 years as a Apple Campus Rep, I went to Apple as a Solutions Consultant, after 3 1/2 years in the same position they opened a position called Apple Customer Experience Leader, I tried to applied but they said no, they wanted another “profile” so they hired a bunch of 30 something group with education from private schools (I got my bachelors degree from a public school) they didn’t know anything of products or process and still they were our new supervisors, for 2 years I was in charge of their trainings because of my experience I had more product knowledge.
In my final year I had a terrible divorce, I was depressed and suicidal, I just got one week of bereavement days, after six months they let me go, saying they didn’t have a place for me, I wanted to take in the new position and. Excuse of threat they said I was frustrated and it was better to let me go.
It bothers me to see on LinkedIn that they still hire and all hires of Apple Mexico are from private expensive schools, if I try to apply they don’t even call me I don’t know if I’m black listed or they discriminate me because I don’t come from a private school or because I’m not white, 95% of Mexico Apple employees are white.
Unprofessional interview process
I have been working remotely since the beginning of the pandemic. I am in Retail/Retail at Home now.. I am on a medical accommodation to work from home. I have been actively ignored by my store managers immediately after my accommodation was approved.
A few months ago, I interviewed for a permanent at home position. I was told by one manager to apply for the position and that a recruiter would reach out to me. After two interviews, I did not get the position, as I was unprepared for this interview, despite asking my manager for some time to review and set me up for success, which wasn’t done.
I texted my manager after I found out I was turned down for the role and they still haven’t reached out to me. It’s been two months, not a reply, not a react, no support, nothing.
A few weeks ago, I received a call from someone who identified themselves as a recruiter from Apple. The person on the other line asked me if I was interested in a particular role and I wasn’t so I declined to be considered. I tried telling them that although I wasn’t interested in this one, that I was interested in roles specializing in what I am already working on at Apple and that I understood the scope of support that the job she tried getting me to interview for. This person proceeded to tell me and I quote, “I don’t have time to discuss that with you, I need to make 10 other calls today.” I have a feeling this person spoke like this to me over the phone because of my accent.
And I’m sorry but, how the f*ck is that any of my problem? You’re a *recruiter*. Your job is to be personable and fill roles. I am making your work easier by telling you what would be a good fit for me and my accommodation and you’re trying to throw me off the phone. It was disgusting and rude of them to completely dismiss me like that. I know many people who encounter recruiters for freelance work and this has never been the norm for a recruiter to talk to people like that. That, among many experiences has made me just feel like another employee ID number, just someone that can be replaced so quickly. They weren’t willing to talk about my skills or what I can offer from being at home on my accommodation.
I have exceeded all of what has been asked of me while in the Retail at Home program, however I received “Achieved Expectations” for Teamwork, Innovation and Results. My metrics have consistently been above the rest of my team’s. How can a store leader approve a review for my performance when we have never formally met whether that’s in person or on WebEx?
I have submitted countless exchange journals and have a few drafted which haven’t been looked at or acknowledged. I can bring this up to my manager, but I don’t even think they’re focused on what the hell I’m even doing.
I am just riding this out until my accommodation ends. I don’t know what I’m going to do after and to be frank, I don’t care.
After having two life-changing surgeries, two cancer diagnoses, and two rounds of radiation, I had been on leave for quite a while. Apple accommodated me for the time off, but when it came to going back to work they refused to take into consideration the massive physical changes I had gone through. I could no longer perform the duties my job required and I let my boss know over and over that accommodating the position would not be enough. That my presence on the team would not contribute to their success. I also let my boss know that the store I worked at was a 35 minute drive from where I lived and because of medications I needed to take, I couldn’t drive to and from everyday. I asked if I could move positions and stores because of this and they refused. The only accommodation they offered me was to have my training sessions at home for a short period of two months and then I needed to return to my 40 hours in my position. Apple refused to let me move stores and when I attempted to go back to work the year prior, I interviewed for a store closer to my home. The manager mentioned hesitantly that I hadn’t been in my position long (I was only in my position a few months before I was diagnosed) and when I told her that I would be coming back in a few months, she repeated this, a little surprised, noted out loud how I wasn’t coming back right away because of my medical leave. I did not get that position. I truly believe it was because of my medical condition that they did not approved the transfer. I felt like no one on the leadership team fought for me, to move to a closer store, or helped me in any way. I was instructed that if I could have my doctor wrote a note with specifications of the type of job that I could perform the People Team would almost certainly approve a position change. My doctor provided medical information that is essential to understanding why I needed a new position. This virtually did nothing to help my case. Apple doesn’t review these documents, the third-party company that’s meant to handle our disability claims, Sedgwick does. And because of this, they offered no help or assistance, nor did they show any understanding for the life-changing physical resections I had because of my cancer. I was very open, willing to share what I needed to get across, that I loved working for Apple and wanted to continue to do so, but in the end they refused to help me move positions and locations. I was put in a corner, left to ask for more time off. They finally let me go earlier this month. I asked the People Team if they would allow me to keep my restricted stock units because they were vesting in 10 days. I mentioned that because they refused to help me find a position I could do, it was the least they could do for taking my job away. I was directed to contact People Support so they could tell me the protocol pertaining to RSUs when employees are let go. I knew that employees lose any unvested stock when let go, that’s why I was asking. Every time I was asked to contact the People Support to help answer my questions during this process, they never could. I contacted the HR representative for my market and he told me the same thing, to contact People Support so they could go over the protocol. I am so disappointed in this company. I came in with such open eyes. Ready to learn and find out more about the company I loved so much. I worked hard, dealt with politics that were far too dramatic for a retail store, and when I finally got to the position I wanted, I was dealt a bad hand. It happens and I’ve accepted that. But what I don’t accept is how this company hides behind the promise of good benefits and decent salaries, but expects so much more out of you than you’d ever expect. I’m grateful that I had my benefits through this process. But the heartache I had to deal with, constantly needing to prove that I am disabled, that I need help, that I need someone to fight for me got exhausting when the other end didn’t make good on their promise. To do good for others, to make the world a better place than we found it, and that good enough, isn’t. But my case ended up being just another file in a drawer.
Assault and disability discrimination
(CW: This story contains disclosure of sexual assault)
My story at Apple starts with assault. I was sexually assaulted by a coworker while other coworkers watched and laughed. I was too afraid of coming forward to HR because so many people were involved and hadn’t done anything at the moment. However, I came forward about sexual harassment that I was experiencing around the same time. They dismissed my complaint in favor of discussing how unapproachable I had become at work. Years later, I’m still at Apple, but I’ve developed a chronic pain condition. I’ve done all the “right” steps to ensure that my job is protected, but the management team makes it clear that they want me gone. I go as far as rarely missing any work, and they still tell me that my job is at risk. One of these managers purposely refused to work directly with me on issues, citing my health condition as a reason. He would even talk to the person next to me without acknowledging me. He also told me that he was actively seeing that I face termination. My breaking point was having my character questioned during a disagreement with this manager. It seemed more important to ostracize and fire someone with a chronic condition than to fire someone who would rape a coworker if given the chance.
32 years of racism and discrimination
I shared this with Apple’s Inclusion and Diversity team in June of 2020 while I was still a full time employee……I didn’t get much of a response back.
From the perspective of a Black Man.
In March of 1984 I walked into Apple’s Fremont manufacturing plant a young, black, 21 year old male ready to begin my career. The possibilities seemed endless and I was eager to take on the world. Apple was an up and coming company with a visionary CEO that had a dream to change the world. I was all in!
A year or so later the realities of life at Apple were beginning to set in. Growing up in nearby Milpitas, in a neighborhood known as Sunnyhills, it was much different from the culture at Apple. Sunnyhills was the first planned racially integrated community In the nation who’s foundation was built on racial equality for all people. I found out early on that wasn’t necessarily the case at Apple.
Around 1986 I switched from swing shift to graveyard because the demand for Macs were going through the roof. I headed up the rework department working closely with the pre-burn and post-burn teams on the production line. There was a heavy concentration of Hispanic workers on graveyard that were being treated very unfair and disrespectfully by the graveyard supervisor and her lead. One night I witnessed the lead berating my Hispanic coworkers and confronted her about it. The lead was offended that I spoke up and thought she could control and talk to me disrespectfully too. She soon found out that wasn’t the case.
Later that night the supervisor came up to me and said “ I need you to obey Jane “ ( name changed ) she’s my lead. I knew it was all bad after that. A day later the morning supervisor called me into a room that an HR rep was waiting in and I was written up and sent to day shift without them even really listening to my side of the story.
Around 1992 while working in a different building in Fremont, an entourage from Apple’s Corporate Headquarters in Cupertino came out for a tour of the factory. At the time the workers on the production line wore ground straps attached to the assembly line so that they wouldn’t blow up capacitors and resistors on the printed circuit boards with electro static discharge. One of the executives asked the person leading the tour “ why is everybody wearing a strap? “ The person answered “ We always keep the animals chained up around here.” All of my co-workers heard it and complained to our supervisor and manager. Nobody spoke up and nothing was ever done about it.
Around 1987 after working hard and becoming the lead of all the rework technicians, I came up with a process to troubleshoot and repair all the computers that were repeatedly failing final system test before they were to be shipped out. I talked my boss into pulling me off the line and giving me a lab to repair these computers. After successfully seeing the failure rate on these systems drop drastically, my boss wanted to promote me. He walked me into HR and told them of his plans. HR pushed back and said “ just because I’m better than the job “ that’s no justification for a promotion. I fought this for 2 years, eventually making an appointment to see the top HR person at the time at Apple Corporate headquarters. He saw me for all of 2 minutes before blowing me off. I’d like to mention that my boss, Frank ( name changed ) was still fully supporting me for the promotion. Defeated again.
I’ve had a few other incidents like this throughout my almost 32 year career at Apple and after a while you just kinda give up and accept things. There just seemed to be no winning.
Now its 2020 and my time at Apple is coming to a close. With the recent events surrounding the George Floyd killing, the whole world is now turning it’s attention to the injustices blacks and people of color have had to endure for many years. I’m truly hopeful that Apple’s commitment to create an environment where everybody has the same opportunities will be fulfilled.
Last year, without having a clue that in 2020 the world would be going through a pandemic and racial upheaval at the same time, I made a documentary about Sunnyhills entitled ’54. I made it to let the world know that a place existed back in the early fifties that challenged the status quo and debunked the myth that blacks and whites couldn’t live together. Sunnyhills believed in racial equality back when blacks didn’t even have the right to vote in America. It can be done and it was. Sunnyhills also had the nations 1st black mayor of a predominately white city in 1966. I I would love to share the documentary with the Inclusion and Diversity team if you’re interested. It’s not made on a Hollywood budget, but on a working man’s budget with a desire to let the world know that racial equality works. Tim Cook said a couple weeks ago that he’s committed to “ listening and learning “ about the struggles of blacks and people of color and it’s my hope that your team feels the same.