Apple employees get death threats: 5 tech companies with a brutal workplace

This morning Apple hit headlines, not for its falling sales figures or dainty devices, but for its work culture. Apple is known for its closed environment, but that doesn't limit to just its products, as NDA signed employees have now revealed under anonymity bitter truth about the popular company's work culture.


This morning Apple hit headlines, not for its falling sales figures or dainty devices, but for its work culture. Apple is known for its closed environment, but that doesn't limit to just its products, as NDA signed employees have now revealed under anonymity bitter truth about the popular company's work culture. So, Apple store employees reportedly get paid peanuts, a bonus on a massive sale comes only in the form of a handshake, and there are no internal promotions as the managerial position is given to an 'outsider'. But that's not even the worst, as employees are often subjected to death threats from customers. Apple isn't the only one, and we've seen some stories of monster bosses surface in the past. Let's take a quick look at some.

Harrowing experience at Amazon

Last year in August, what became public were the harrowing experiences about working at Amazon when Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld of The New York Times interviewed more than 100 former and current Amazon employees to conclude how bad it can get to work at Amazon. Amazon was accused of trying to get as much work out of an employee as possible. Managers look for immediate responses to emails even those sent after midnight, and also when on vacation.

Image: Reuters

Image: Reuters

Again, that's not the worst. The report claims employees are treated badly when they ask for help. The reported cited an example when a woman who had a miscarriage was asked to travel immediately the next day on a business trip, while another woman suffering from breast cancer was rated really low for her performance and warned about losing her job. Soon after the reports went live, Jeff Bezos decided to look into the matter.

Facebook and sexism

In 2012, Facebook emerged, for the first time, among the top 3 companies to work at. But the fairy tale didn't last long, when a tell-all book by an ex-employee revealed the sexist mentality of the company. In her book, The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network, Katherine Losse who worked for Facebook between 2005 and 2010 claimed that  female workers at the social network were propositioned for threesomes and faced insults like 'I want to put my teeth in your ass.' Lower ranking employees who were usually female were treated as ‘second class help’, while male engineers were busy with toga parties and late night hackathons. Zuckerberg was even compared to Napolean and called him a little emperor with staff that treats him like an 'idol'. Moreover, on his 22nd birthday, female employees were asked to wear T-shirts with his name printed on them. However, things started changing with the arrival of the chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg who later joined the Facebook board as its first female directors.

Foxconn and ugly labor conditions

A few years ago, the ugly story behind the assembling of the beautiful Apple products came to light. A survey disclosed the bad working conditions at Foxconn factories, which were largely run by migrant workers or people who have come from other countries or regions looking for jobs. The average age of these workers was 23, and less than 6 percent of workers in the three facilities were between the ages of 16 and 18.

The hands that help make those stylish devices were said to be overworked, underpaid and in bad conditions. A survey back then had revealed that majority workers found the canteen food inedible and about 48 percent found the place unhygenic. The Fair Labor Association had intervened and asked companies to follow local labor laws. Soon, Apple and Foxconn said that they are working at improving the conditions for workers.

Ellen Pao and gender bias

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This is one trial that had made the tech world sit upright and take notice. Pao had claimed that Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, wherein she was a junior partner, denied promotions because of her gender and was terminated soon after she complained. Juror in gender lawsuit sympathised with Ellen Pao, but sided with Kleiner.

Dropcam and Nest saga

It was just recently that we saw the public mudslinging between Dropcam founder Greg Duffy and Nest CEO Tony Fadell. It was when Fadell blamed Dropcam for its failing position and inability to come out with a profitable new product. Fadell called the acquired Dropcam team 'not as good as’ he hoped, Duffy shortly replied calling it “blatant scapegoating”. He explained how Dropcam was in the middle of a record year of sale, how it still made money compared to other (Alpha) bets and only 50 Dropcam employees resigned out of the 500 (out of 1200) who decided to leave Nest. He clearly hinted how it wasn’t a smooth sailing experience working with Fadell and how great products were crushed by Fadell. Fadell is believed to have met the big bosses shortly to defend Nest.


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