Tim Cook tried to quell unrest at Apple during a meeting with staff, but only answered two questions from activist employees

Tim Cook at Apple's iPhone 13 event
CEO Tim Cook. Apple

Tim Cook tried to quell growing employee concerns at an all-company meeting on Friday, The New York Times reported.

The Times obtained a recording of the meeting. It also spoke to activist employees who said they were disappointed because Cook only answered two questions out of several that they had wanted to ask the CEO.

The questions Cook answered related to pay equity and Apple’s approach to the Texas law preventing people from getting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

After Cook received the question about pay equity, Apple’s head of HR, Deirdre O’Brien, said the company regularly looks for gaps in its compensation practices.

“When we find any gaps at all, which sometimes we do, we close them,” O’Brien said, per The Times.

Cook was asked how the company is protecting employees from Texas’ new abortion law. In response, he said the company is investigating whether it can help mount legal challenges against the law.

He also said that the company’s medical insurance will cover employees in Texas if they need to travel outside the state to obtain an abortion.

One activist employee, Janneke Parrish, told The Times that when discussing the meeting on the company’s internal Slack message board, some employees said they were impressed by Cook’s answers, but she was underwhelmed.

Parrish said she had submitted a question asking what specific steps Apple had taken to close pay gaps and achieve parity for women and people of color in getting promotions. The question was not answered, however.

Apple did not immediately reply to Insider when contacted for comment. In a statement to The Times, it said: “We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace.”

“We take all concerns seriously and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters,” it added.

Although Apple has historically had a reputation for secrecy, recently more employees have spoken out publicly about the company. In August, 15 employees built a website to allow colleagues to share experiences of harassment and discrimination at the company.

Earlier this month, Apple fired engineer Ashley Gjøvik who’d spoken publicly on Twitter about allegations of harassment at the company.

Gjøvik wrote in an article for Insider that she was accused of refusing to comply with a request from the company’s “Employee Relations Threat Assessment & Workplace Violence” team.

She said she agreed to comply with the request but only in writing, as she had filed a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and an investigation was ongoing.