Apple has disputed the charges made by the employees.
Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s human resources chief, told employees in a September meeting viewed by The New York Times that the company tracks pay and closes wage disparities whenever they are found. And Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, framed the conversation as a battle over rooting out people who leak company information.
“As you know, we do not tolerate disclosures of confidential information, whether it’s product I.P. or the details of a confidential meeting,” Mr. Cook wrote in a September memo to employees that was viewed by The Times and was reported earlier by The Verge. “We know that the leakers constitute a small number of people. We also know that people who leak confidential information do not belong here.”
An Apple spokesman on Tuesday reiterated a previous comment the company had shared about employee activism, saying that Apple was “deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace” and investigating concerns. The company said it did not comment on specific employees.
Apple has in the past faced isolated cases of worker discontent. Last year, Kate Rotondo, a former software engineer, filed and later retracted a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming gender discrimination and unequal pay.
Barbara Dawn Underwood, an Apple retail store employee in Georgia, sued Apple for $1.7 million, accusing the company of failing to stop a co-worker from sexually harassing and assaulting her and then retaliating by firing her while she was trying to return to work after taking leave. Apple has asked for the case, filed in a Georgia federal court, to be dismissed, and Ms. Underwood is waiting to see if she can proceed.
Recently, the complaints have escalated into #AppleToo. Led by Ms. Parrish and Ms. Scarlett, a security engineer, the movement grew from a group of employees arguing this summer against returning to physical office spaces into a broader referendum on Apple’s culture. Ms. Parrish, before she was fired in October, collected more than 500 stories from people who said they were current or former Apple employees, describing verbal abuse, sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination at work.