Apple’s HR department accused by 15 women of mishandling serious misconduct allegations, and in some cases even retaliating against them
Serious allegations have been reportedly levelled at Apple and its human resources (HR) department by 15 different women.
According to the report in the Financial Times, the 15 women have accused Apple’s HR department of ‘mishandling’ serious misconduct allegations they made against fellow Apple staffers – allegations which in some cases includes sexual assault.
And it is alleged that Apple’s HR department retaliated against half of the women for bringing the complaints in the first place.
According to one case cited by the FT, one of the allegations centres around a sexual assault committed outside of work hours and premises. in which a female Apple employee was partially undressed by a colleague while she was asleep.
The report stated that Megan Mohr was five years into her Apple career when, in 2013, a male colleague took advantage of her after a platonic night out drinking together.
Her work colleague drove her home and helped her inside, where she briefly fell asleep before waking to the sound of clicking. It is reported that the male work colleague had removed her shirt and bra and was taking pictures of her whilst grinning.
Megan Mohr’s reportedly poor experience with Apple HR department previously, meant she didn’t bother to report the incident at the time, but later when the #MeToo movement began, she reportedly felt empowered to tell Apple’s HR department about the incident.
But Apple’s HR department reportedly said that even she had reported the offense at the time, and her colleague had admitted it, the iPhone maker would not have acted.
According to the FT, Mohr had no evidence and reportedly did not request a formal investigation, but just thought Apple’s HR department should made aware of the person’s character, and she apparently requested they never be put in the same department.
Mohr thought this was a modest request, but the email exchange seen by the Financial Times soon reportedly turned rigid and defensive.
Apple’s HR representative apparently displayed little empathy or experience dealing with sexual misconduct. He analogised her experience to “a minor traffic accident” to explain how Apple couldn’t really get involved.
Mohr subsequently left the company, and says she wants Apple to live up to its claimed values.
According to the FT, the newspaper interviewed 15 female Apple employees, both current and former, across at least seven Apple departments spanning six states in the US.
The women interviewed also shared allegations of Apple’s apathy in the face of misconduct claims.
And eight of the women alleged they were retaliated against, while seven found the HR department to be disappointing or counterproductive.
Apple reportedly said that it wants to have “an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting any issues,” but does acknowledge that work is required to address any failings.
The firm said it will make changes to its training and processes, but declined to comment on specific cases due to the privacy rights of the individuals concerned.
Out of office issue
The case does raise a number of legal issues for corporate entities, including how ‘out of office’ allegations such as these can be properly investigated or even proved by an HR department.
For example, how far can Apple, a commercial business, be responsible for the alleged actions or misbehaviour of its staff outside of the corporate workplace and hours of work?
That said, most staff in America and other countries could potentially be dismissed for the way they behave outside work, as their actions could reflect badly on the company concerned, especially if the case gains unwelcome media exposure.