Open letter | 300 employees accuse Apple of "wrongfully terminating" and punishing workers for expressing pro-Palestine views

300 employees accuse Apple of

Nearly 300 past and present Apple workers have signed an open letter, accusing the company of “wrongfully terminating” and punishing employees for expressing pro-Palestine support.

In the letter, the Apples4Ceasefire group claims that any employee who has shown solidarity for Palestine through acts such as wearing pins, bracelets, or kaffiyehs has been “actioned against under the guise of “breaking business conduct,” and creating a “harmful environment.””

Team members have allegedly even been “wrongfully terminated for this small show of solidarity.”

The letter follows a podcast published on March 28 by Palestine in America, in which a former employee, Madly Espinoza, says she was fired from an Apple Store in Lincoln Park, Chicago, after wearing a traditional Palestinian headdress to work, despite reportedly checking with a manager she wouldn’t be going against store policy.

She claims that management eventually sent her a disciplinary document stating that her keffiyeh does violate store policy, but that Apple refused to confirm which policies had specifically been broken.

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Espinoza, alongside many other employees, reportedly began wearing pro-Palestinian jewelry, again after getting approval from management.

The podcast also claims employees at the Lincoln Park store were gathered together on Black Friday, one of the busiest days of the year, and warned that wearing Palestinian jewelry such as bracelets would result in disciplinary action.

Tariq Ra’ouf, one of the organizers of the Apples4Ceasefire campaign and a technical expert at an Apple Store in Seattle, spoke to WIRED and said that around 40 employees at the Lincoln Park store were berated by management for wearing the bracelets.

According to Espinoza, she was fired without written warning despite repeatedly asking for the policies she was violating and was told policies don’t have to be written down to be enforced. She also alleges management told her verbally her actions were “too political” and caused a

Espinoza says she is the only employee at the Lincoln Park store who has been fired.

Other current and former Apple employees speak on the podcast, including an employee based in California who claims he was banned by HR from wearing a keffiyeh.

“I was wearing my keffiyeh, and I was told by my market leader and Human Resources that I was not allowed to wear my cultural garment at all, and it was not safe to wear due to the political stance and climate that it addresses,” the employee alleges.

Apples4Casefire’s letter also criticizes Apple CEO Tim Cook and other leadership for reportedly taking a biased stance on the conflict, citing disappointment and shock “at the lack of care and understanding this company has given the Palestinian community.”

Cook emailed employees two days after a Hamas attack on October 7, expressing sympathy for those who died or suffered bereavement, but according to the letter, has not acknowledged the death of Palestinians in Gaza. “After over 150 days of violence against innocent Palestinian lives, there has yet to be a message sent expressing the same kind of concern for them,” the group says.

The latest UN figures indicate that close to 40,000 Palestinians have died or are missing under rubble.

“We humbly ask that Mr. Cook and the rest of the executive team end their silence on this crucial subject, and make it clear that Palestinian lives matter,” asks the letter.

Apple has not made a public statement yet on the matter but has previously faced criticism from employees after taking down Slack posts and channels for Jewish and Muslim employees that included discussions about the Israel-Hamas war.

Apples4Ceasefire says Apple’s executive leadership actions have made Palestinians “wholly unwelcome” within the company, going against its values that emphasize inclusivity and racial equity.

Apples4Ceasefire is planning a protest outside the Lincoln Park Apple store on Saturday.

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