Latest Newsletter🍵 Monterey Park hero awardedRead


Former Apple lawyer sues company for discrimination, colleague who allegedly sent her death threats

apple park
via InvadingInvader (CC BY-SA 4.0)

    Asian America Daily - in under 5 minutes

    Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories, to your inbox daily, for free!

    Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive

    A former patent attorney at Apple is suing the multinational tech company for discrimination and for failing to protect her from a colleague who allegedly sent her death threats.

    Jayna Richardson Whitt, who started working at Apple in 2006, filed her suit at a California state court on Dec. 20. In her complaint, she accuses the tech giant of doing little to address the alleged threats and also unlawfully firing her after she repeatedly raised the matter.

    Whitt describes having a “personal relationship” with the colleague in question. Last year, Apple began conducting an internal investigation but concluded it months later without offering any resolution.

    The plaintiff says she suffered “extreme domestic abuse” from her colleague, who at one point allegedly sent her a video of himself pointing a gun to his head. She says Apple left her to secure her devices, accounts and Wi-Fi on her own without help from anyone in the company’s global security department.

    Whitt, who worked as director of IP transactions before being demoted to principal counsel, also accused Apple of workplace discrimination. 

    In one example, she describes being sidelined after returning from a leave in 2018.

    A reorganization of the in-house legal team that year was allegedly decided without the input of non-white female employees. As a result, it led to the promotions of only white male employees, the complaint says.

    Whitt also claims to be an easy target for discrimination as an Asian woman and single parent who experiences “severe anxiety.” Additionally, she describes needing time to care for a parent with Parkinson’s disease.

    In April, Whitt published an essay describing Apple’s alleged discrimination and retaliation. 

    The tech giant then began to investigate her, and by July, her employment was terminated for violations of company policies.

    “Though I suspect this essay could bring my career at Apple to an end, I am writing it in the hopes that the company will change,” Whitt wrote in her essay. “If Apple treated me this way — a loyal, high-performing, long-term employee who’d reached the coveted director level — how is it treating others? A pool left with the fiercest sharks who managed to survive creates a hostile environment, is not diverse, does not lead to the best products, and should not be the goal.”

    Whitt is seeking unspecified compensation for financial losses and emotional distress.

    Related stories:

    Support our Journalism with a Contribution

    Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

    Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

    However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

    We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way.  Thank you for everyone's support. We love you all and can't appreciate you guys enough.

    Support NextShark

    Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Paypal