While Apple was getting ready to launch the iPhone 7 and all attention was focused on its new products, a bomb went off and ended up calling into question the company's conduct. Melanie Ehrenkranz, writing to Mic, exposed several emails with stories of oppression from former and current Apple employees who considered the work environment toxic.
Opening the range of stories, Melanie first told about Danielle (fictitious name), who complained about a rape joke on his team's chat. This comment, which was fully disclosed by the Gizmodo, it seemed to be somewhat harmless. One of the boys in the chat lets out the phrase I am the only one to remember the Bed Intruder music when (so-and-so) warns that there is someone not authorized in the building? He refers to a story about a man who entered a girl's room and the video ended up becoming a meme after YouTubers transform the victim's brother's speech into music (with auto-tune). For those who remember, the music was so funny that I venture to say that many don't even remember that the story was about an attempted rape.
Danielle, however, did not forget the story of the story; in fact, the comment affected her because she herself had already been sexually assaulted and perhaps the thought of someone unauthorized in the building made her even more insecure. For those involved (and those who criticized her in commentary sections of various websites), that was just her exaggeration. The truth is that this was not the first time she had heard things like that from her team, reported to management and nothing had been done. Therefore, the situation was just the last straw for her to write an email to Tim Cook, reporting what happened. The Apple CEO, however, did not respond, but Danielle was off work for a month for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After her return, she continued to affirm that everything continued in the same way and she no longer felt safe working there.
Other women, who also felt threatened, shared their stories. A former Apple employee said in an email that she felt extremely uncomfortable after attending a meeting where she was the only woman among many men.
The conversation ended with all the men disparaging their wives or partners. I felt very uncomfortable to notice that I was the only woman in an environment where male colleagues were stereotyping women as being boring and the manager did not consider this inappropriate.
When she worked the night shift, almost all the lights in the office went out because they were sensitive to movement. The person closest to her was six cubicles away, the rest was dark. Feeling insecure about being the only woman on the floor, she asked management to at least put her closer to someone else and the request was refused. She resigned from one of the most requested companies in the world to work riding a bicycle.
In another situation, Claire (fictitious name) reported Apple who suffered retaliation from his male colleagues. After investigating, the company acknowledged that it was in a hostile environment, but instead of calling the attention of those who harassed it, it offered two options: stay in that position or go to one that paid less. She preferred the second option, damaging her career, but at least she would move away from that situation.
The list goes on, with several women saying they were harassed and / or had their professional skills questioned; all or most tried to report to management but nothing was ever done and many even resigned.
In addition, it was not only women who made the bullying list. A former employee reported that his colleagues repeatedly referred to him as having “women's qualities”, sometimes saying that he had “PMS”.
Any man can claim that being compared to a woman means that you are not strong or stable enough to deal with the difficulties of life or work in the same way that a man does.
This particular statement reminded me of the wonderful documentary “The Mask You Live In” (“The Mask You Live In”), which tells how boys are being raised to become beings who cannot expose their feelings and are constantly demanded by society, which ends up influencing a lot in the way they deal with women. It is available on Netflix, so anyone who can take a look, I'm sure they won't regret it.
After the story aired, Apple Human Resources representative Denise Young Smith told the Recode that they take these cases seriously and personally. She says that the company "took proportional measures", but could not specify exactly what was done, for privacy. According to her, Cook was also involved in the discussions about the cases even though he was on a product launch week. About that, she says: "I think it shows that this situation is as important as our products." Although the intention was good, I agree with this tweet the author of the article Mic in which she recalls that allegations of harassment and discrimination should be more important than products. #reflects
And if you think the "thing is ugly" for Apple, you haven't seen anything yet. After all this “hustle and bustle”, other employees appeared in another publication of the Mic with very severe claims about psychological problems having been developed in the workplace. Ben (fictitious name) witnessed his name becoming synonymous with psychological problems in the team (including managers) after he tried to kill himself in 2011. According to him, before working at Apple, his psychological health was intact; After ten years working there, he tried twice to kill himself and said that whenever he ended up in the infirmary or psychiatric hospital, there was an Apple employee around.
Marcus (fictitious name), who is Latin, said that while working at Apple he became depressed to the point of becoming a homeless person just to “get rid” of all the pressure. One woman said that she felt uncomfortable with the looks of a colleague and reported to HR, but nothing was done. Afterwards, her colleague was promoted and she was demoted for creating another one above hers. When speaking for the second time with HR, she heard: "You just have to enter the dance or maybe this is not your place."
J Chris (fictitious name) was so upset that he resigned and, on his last day at work, wrote a six-page “manifesto” and distributed it across tables, servers and websites. In the manifesto, he poured out all his indignity with strong phrases.
There should be no race, age or gender in the workplace; therefore, statements that can generate this feeling must be dealt with visibly.
This department should adopt a culture of inclusion in which all individuals are valued.
Injustice in the workplace should be seen as a threat to both business and a safe work environment.
Reporting racism and racist activities to HR should not result in promotion prevention.
When racist statements are made, an apology must be made referring to the statements, not the possibility of a misunderstanding. Apologizing for a misunderstanding is not the same as an apology.
In addition to these, there were many other allegations, and one employee reported that the “joke of the day” is that “Foxconn has nothing to incriminate Apple”, referring to the terrible working conditions in China.
In April, news of a suicide at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino terrified everyone. But, according to many employees, they are surrounded by a very toxic environment, with injustices and all kinds of prejudice.
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Ns, human beings. What makes us different from each other? What makes us the same? What makes us think we deserve more than the person next to us? Who put in us the notion that we can be free to find and speak whatever we want, without thinking about how it can affect others? Who are we to know what the other feels? And who can know what we feel, what we've been through?
I read a lot of heart-breaking things while writing this post and even I was afraid than I could read in this comment section. For those people who do it at the expense of others, why would they prefer a few seconds of laughter to the lasting suffering that many people end up facing? In the politically correct, empathy and the lack of it can be extremely destructive.
Apple boasts of its diversity, always disclosing several numbers. But what use are numbers and speeches to the world if in the internal management nobody seems to be concerned with destructive and empathetic behavior in their offices? No one is asking for perfection, just a better work environment for great people to be able to develop professionally and help the company as a whole.
Unfortunately, this doesn't just happen at Apple or on the desktop. The houses, the schools, the streets are screaming for more empathy. The Internet? Not even spoken. As Michael Jackson sings: "If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make the change" ("If you want to make the world a better place, look at yourself and make this change").