Apple Inc. illegally fired a worker for raising concerns regarding workplace abuse, racism, pay equity and other issues, according to a charge filed with National Labor Relations board on the week of November 1, 2021.
Apple fired Janneke Parrish, a program manager, on Oct. 14 after she complained about the technology giant’s culture of racism, sexism, and homophobia, failure to address safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic and abusive culture, the charge said.
“Parrish was terminated for ‘daring to disturb Apple’s ‘universe’,’” the charge stated. “Parish spoke up regarding her personal experiences regarding workplace concerns and helped give voice to her co-workers’ concerns in a workplace where such issues have been systemically siloed, suppressed, and unaddressed.”
Additionally, Parrish claims that her being fired was the result of her trying to inform her colleagues about their rights to organize a union and collect data about workplace issues.
The charge claimed that “Apple Inc. terminated Parrish’s employment based upon false and pretextual reasons and in fact terminated her employment in attempt to nip-in-the-bud the successful organizing campaign that Parrish and her co-workers established to address and redress employees’ workplace concerns.”
Parrish has engaged in a protected activity by raising complaints on behalf of herself and other workers. The National Labor Relations Act empowers workers to take “concerted activities for … mutual aid or protection” and makes it illegal – or an unfair labor practice – for employers to punish them for doing so.
Unions generally file unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB’s regional offices, but individuals who aren’t union-represented, like Parrish, can also do so, often with help form plaintiffs lawyers and unions behind the scenes.
Laurie M. Burgess of Burgess Law Offices, who represents Parrish, mentioned that the charge is a clear example of legally protected activity: speaking up against working conditions.
“It really is like a playbook how these companies deal with their employees,” Burgess said. “These companies have depended on the integrity of their employees to keep them on the straight and narrow and doing what’s in the public interest. Then when employees do it, they get fired.”