Support Ashley Gjøvik, an Apple Inc Whistleblower
Ashley Gjovik, a former Senior Engineering Program Manager at Apple, documented and exposed unsafe work conditions, disturbing surveillance and intimidation practices, and systemic malfeasance at Apple Inc. After facing increasing retaliation in response to her attempts to escalate her concerns internally, she took her complaints to regulators, the press, and the public in August of 2021.
Due to Apple's culture of secrecy, Gjovik was likely the first corporate Apple employee to publicly file charges against Apple, while employed, with a number of government agencies including the US EPA, US NLRB, US Department of Labor, US SEC, US Department of Justice, and the California Department of Labor. Apple fired Gjovik without explanation less than two weeks after her charges were filed and made public, and the day before she was scheduled to testify about Apple to a federal agency. Gjovik complained to Apple about ‘witness intimidation’ hours before she received a notice of termination.
Gjovik’s disclosures to the US EPA led to federal inspections of Apple’s operations at Silicon Valley Superfund sites in August 2021, where the regulator found a number of potential safety issues that may have put Gjovik and her coworkers at risk for exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. The US EPA ordered numerous corrective actions in 2022, including mandatory chemical exposure testing at Gjovik’s office in 2023. The outcome of Gjovik’s disclosures to the US EPA has been revealed solely due to her persistent FOIA requests and relentless investigation into the safety of the work conditions of her now ex-coworkers.
Gjovik's complaints about her Superfund office in 2021 were the direct result of knowledge gained from a traumatic experience in 2020 where she fell severely ill and became disabled living at a new apartment complex in Santa Clara. She discovered the apartments were built on a toxic clean-up site and subsequent environmental exposure doctors diagnosed her illness as acute exposure to solvents. Through the experience of advocating for further mitigation and public health intervention at the site in late 2020 and early 2021, Gjovik learned about the science and regulatory obligations for toxic waste clean-up sites. She published an expose in March 2021 which led additional exposure victims to come forward. In February of 2023, Gjovik's Public Records Act requests revealed that in addition to the apartments being located on state and federal toxic waste clean-up sites, her ex-employer, Apple, was also operating a secret semiconductor manufacturing plant < 300 feet from the windows of the apartments. Gjovik uncovered a number of regulatory violations and spills/leaks of very dangerous chemicals around the time she and others were ill.
Her charges and disclosures to the US NLRB led to two decisions of merit in her favor and three more still pending. On January 30 2023, the US NLRB found merit in Gjovik’s allegations that Apple’s employment policies and non-disclosure agreements, and a threatening email sent by the CEO to staff in September 2021, all violated federal labor law. Gjovik’s charges led to the first finding of a nation-wide violation of the NLRA by Apple, and any resolution will require a nation-wide remedy from Apple.
Gjovik’s policy charges, exemplified by her retaliation charges, are also anticipated to potentially be a vehicle for the NLRB to reform national labor law precedent for all applicable US employers, creating a more employee-friendly standard for workplace polices and employment agreements. Gjovik’s three remaining NLRB charges allege she was harassed, threatened, intimidated, coerced, surveilled, and retaliated against for exercising her federally protected labor rights and for reporting Apple’s misconduct to the NLRB. Apple’s explanation for firing Gjovik vaguely cited their confidentiality policies, which have now been found to violate federal law.
Gjovik also has whistleblower cases currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Program with allegations of retaliation for exercising federally protected whistleblower rights under CERCLA (42 U.S.C. §9610), SOX (18 U.S.C.A. §1514A), and OSH Act (29 U.S.C. §660) statutes. Her California Department of Labor retaliation and policy cases were queued pending the federal investigation. Gjovik is also in discussions with US SEC about matters disclosed in her SEC whistleblower tips underlying her SOX retaliation charge, and her later disclosures related to Apple’s unlawful NDAs and additional allegations of fraud.
In March 2022, Gjovik learned Apple’s proffered justification for her termination was that Apple supposedly fired her because she publicly disclosed information about Apple’s invasive surveillance practices, coercive biometrics collection, and disquieting medical studies on employees. In response to Apple’s claim, Gjovik filed additional charges domestically and with foreign governments on those matters, sharing even more information about the programs and her concerns. Gjovik’s retaliation cases argue her disclosures were not only protected, but that Apple’s original conduct was unlawful – calling into question the legality of several of Apple’s consumer products. Following Gjovik’s charges, Bavaria is investigating Apple’s biometrics engineering office in the German region, and the U.S. FTC is also looking into her complaint that Apple developed Face ID with coerced and otherwise nonconsensual data. The US NLRB, and California (Ashley Gjovik v. Apple Inc, RCI-CM-842830) and US Departments of Labor will also rule on the issue as part of Gjovik’s retaliation cases.
Gjovik worked at Apple for over six years, where she was responsible for high-risk projects including managing entire iOS software updates, leading software failure analysis following new product introduction, functioning as a chief of staff for several executives, and working in Apple’s legal department where she ironically led efforts to establish Apple’s first company-wide AI ethics policy.
Gjovik is now a lawyer – she graduated from law school in 2022 with a Juris Doctor and a certificate in Public International Law, with honors. She also attended Oxford University in 2021 for an intensive Transitional Justice program, which she said inspired the holistic approach she has taken attempting to reform Apple’s business practices. She founded the D&G Center in 2022 and was elected as the Whistleblower Officer on the IBA Anti-Corruption Compliance subcommittee in 2023. Gjovik is representing herself pro se on all of her Apple cases and charges – with strategic and moral support from a community of human rights activists, whistleblowers, and labor organizers.
As of 2022, Apple was valued at three-trillion dollars with sixty-billion dollars cash on hand. Apple retains the most powerful law firms in the world and is known to crush adversaries in court simply through procedural abuse and expenses. After being fired, Ashley exhausted her entire life savings in order to finish law school and pursue her cases against Apple. GoFundMe donations are used to support legal fees, advocacy, living expenses, and other whistleblower necessities during this fight.
Follow Ashley's story:
- On Twitter, Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook
- Whistleblower website: ashleygjovik.com & iWhistleblower
- Educational information about environmental exposure: whatsintheair.org
- Consulting site: gjovik.co
Télérama, “Ashley Gjovik, lanceuse d’alerte licenciée par Apple, seule contre tous,“ March 14 2023
CovertAction Bulletin, "CovertAction Bulletin: NLRB Rules in Favor of Apple Whistleblower," Feb 9 2023
HR Dive, "NLRB: Apple illegally interfered with employees’ protected activity," Feb 6 2023
FOSS Patents, "Apple whistleblower Ashley Gjøvik makes headway in labor dispute: if NLRB's finding of violation of federal law is upheld, Apple will have to fix policies nationwide," Jan 31 2023
Fudzilla, “Watchdog barks at Apple’s staff management policy” Jan 31 2023
Bloomberg, "Apple Executives Violated Worker Rights, Labor Officials Say," Jan 30 2023
CNN, "Apple has infringed on worker rights, NLRB investigators say," Jan 31 2023
TechCrunch, "Labor officials found that Apple execs infringed on workers’ rights," Jan 30 2023
IndyBay & WorkWeek: “Apple & Toxic Waste: Is It Above The Law? Interview with Whistleblower Ashley M Gjovik.” Sept 29 2022
DER SPIEGEL: "Apple lädt Mitarbeiter zu Datenparty – um Gesichter zu scannen," June 26 2022
Biometrics Update: "Ex-employee accuses Apple of training iPhone biometrics by violating staff privacy," April 20 2022
TechCrunch: "Ex-Apple employee Ashley Gjovik takes Face ID privacy complaint to Europe," April 11 2022
City AM: "Apple under spotlight amid spying claims," April 10 2022
Telegraph: "Apple whistleblower Ashley Gjovik brings spying claims to UK," April 10 2022
Index on Censorship: “Apple poisoned me: physically, mentally, spiritually.” Dec 15 2021 [republished on Sage Publications]
Truthout: "Apple Employee Blows Whistle on Illegal Spying and Toxic Working Conditions." Dec 19 2021
Whistleblower Network News, "U.S. Department of Labor Investigating Apple Whistleblower’s Allegations," Dec 16 2021
Above the Law: “I Know A Good Apple Is Tart, But Exploitation Is Bitter,” Dec 21 2021
Financial Times: "Apple faces probe over whether it retaliated against whistleblower," Dec 13 2021
Inverse, "Apple is leaning on weak arguments to defend a senior engineer's firing," October 15 2021
Gizmodo: "Apple Wanted Her Fired, it Settled on an Absurd Excuse" Oct 14 2021
Harvard Law Review OnLabor Blog: “OnLabor News & Commentary– Oct 13 2021,”
Business Insider: "Former Apple employee Ashley Gjovik alleges a Tim Cook email saying leakers 'do not belong' at the company violates worker-protection laws," Oct 12 2021
Bloomberg: "Apple CEO’s Anti-Leak Edict Broke Law, Ex-Employee Ashley Gjovik Alleges," Oct 12 2021
Justia: "Former Apple Employee Ashley Gjovik Alleges Workplace Violations and Wrongful Termination," Sept 20 2021
Protocol: "Worker surveillance is making employees miserable. What to consider before implementing monitoring tools," Sept 20 2021
The Verge: "Apple Cares About Privacy, Unless You Work at Apple," Aug 30, 2021
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre: “Apple employees raise concerns company does not protect and at times invades their personal privacy,” August 31 2021
Gizmodo: "Apple Fires Program Manager Who Accused Bosses of Harassment, Intimidation," Sept 9 2021
Financial Times: "US labour board examines retaliation claims against Apple: Senior engineering program manager’s allegations include workplace harassment and job reassignment," Sept 2 2021
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