Beyond the group activism, Apple is dealing with individual fights that are slipping into public view.
Ashley Gjovik, a former engineering program manager at Apple for six years, said she had complained to Apple for months about what she believed was inadequate testing for toxic chemicals at her office, as well as sexist comments from a manager.
After taking her complaints public this year, Ms. Gjovik was placed on leave and later fired. She said Apple had told her that she was fired for leaking product information and not cooperating with its investigation. She has filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Justice Department, she said.
Apple declined to comment on specific employees’ cases.
Ms. Dehus, who worked at Apple to mitigate the impact of mining valuable minerals in conflict zones, said she had left Apple after spending several years fighting a decision to reassign her to a role that she said had involved more work for less pay. She said Apple had begun trying to reassign her after she complained that the company’s work on the minerals was not, in some cases, leading to meaningful change in some war-torn countries.
Richard Dahan, who is deaf, said he had struggled at his former job at an Apple Store in Maryland for six years because his manager refused to provide a sign-language interpreter for him to communicate with customers, which federal law requires under some circumstances. He said that he had communicated with customers by typing on an iPad, and that some customers had refused to work with him as a result. When he told his manager, the manager said it was the customers’ right, he said.
“Would it be OK if they said they didn’t want to work with a person of color?” Mr. Dahan asked in an interview via a sign-language interpreter.
He was eventually assigned an interpreter. But by that time, he said, upper management viewed him as a complainer and refused to promote him.