Over 90 policy and rights groups ask the firm to axe plans for scanning phones of adults for images of child sex abuse.
An Apple employee who led fellow workers in publicly sharing instances of what they called harassment and discrimination at the company says she has been fired.
Janneke Parrish, an Apple programme manager in the US, said the iPhone maker informed her on Thursday that she had been terminated for deleting material on company equipment while she was under investigation over the leaking of a company town hall to media. She told Reuters she denies being responsible for the leak.
Parrish said she deleted apps that contained details of her finances and other personal information before handing her devices in to Apple as part of the probe.
Parrish, who ran for city council in Round Rock, Texas, this year, helped spearhead the #AppleToo movement, which led to Apple employees speaking out about inconsistent pay, a lack of transparency and other workplace issues. She said she believes she was fired for her activism in the workplace.
“To me, this seems clearly retaliatory for the fact that I was speaking out about abuses that have happened at my employer, pay equity and, generally, about our workplace conditions,” she said.
Apple said Friday it does not discuss specific employee matters.
Apple has recently experienced other examples of employee unrest. Last month, two Apple employees told Reuters they had filed charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board. The workers accused Apple of retaliation and halting the discussion of pay among employees, among other allegations.
US law protects the right of employees to openly discuss certain topics, including working conditions, discrimination and equal pay.
Apple has said that it is “deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace” and that it takes “all concerns” from employees seriously.
Parrish said she was careful to respect company rules and never shared information that she believed to be confidential. She said she continued to publish the #AppleToo digest after coming under investigation at the end of September.
“If anything, it’s made the importance of that work clearer than ever, when Apple’s response to criticism is to start internal investigations into those that it wants to see gone,” she said. “It’s easier for them to terminate people than it is for them to actually listen.”