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Apple Patent Attorney Says Company Punished Her for Partner’s Abuse

Jayna Whitt has worked as an attorney on Apple's intellectual property team for 15 years. She recently published an essay on The Lioness about the company’s response to a difficult personal relationship with another Apple attorney. Whitt does not name the attorney in her essay but does detail their relationship. She says he started pursuing her during a difficult time when she was in the middle of a divorce and learning how to be a single parent. She describes him as great sometimes but spoke about how he became increasingly erratic and scary. It began with mocking comments to tear her down. Whitt says it took some time to recognize what was happening as domestic abuse. She describes an incident where he broke down her bathroom door, grabbed her by the neck, threw her down, and spit in her face. She details cycles of good times, followed by more volatile times. Whitt also discusses his use of technology, including Apple devices, to manipulate her information. Whitt says she moved, changed locks, and bought a new phone and computer.

Whitt contacted Employee Relations to share what had been happening to her, informing them that an employee had threatened and domestically abused her. Whitt does not believe the ER representative took her seriously. He told her to contact the police if something happened but did not offer much else. She pushed harder, but the representative told her that he could not do anything with the information she shared unless she included the names of current employees to corroborate it. According to Whitt, Apple closed the investigation in August 2021 and “officially reprimanded” her for allowing a personal relationship to interfere with her work, not adequately securing her devices and accounts, and being unprofessional during the investigation. Whitt also says Apple has placed her on leave and is investigating whether she violated any workplace policies. Whitt states she believes domestic violence incidents have increased with more employees working from home. Apple has declined to comment in response to the publication.