The blog the engineer/developer wrote and posted online complaining about Apple is a good example of what not to do. It shows the engineer has at least one serious problem he can't blame on his boss -- his own stupid behavior.
I fully understand what Jordan Price did because I have exactly the same story to tell. Only the end is different. I had exactly the same type of boss doing exactly the same kind of "jokes", hovering over my back, doing the same with my colleagues. Me trying to ignore the constant humiliations but still distracting me from doing a good job. Each word of this story is matching mine, only the company is different. I can't believe this kind of behaviour can be so precisely duplicated.
My story ended differently because I finally had a loud argument with him in the middle of the open space. I was very - very - close to punch his face but resisted and left. The day after I went to the company CEO (much smaller company though) my boss was directly reporting to him and explained everything to the CEO. My boss was not fired but he changed completely and one year later became my best aliee in the company. It's completely unbelievable how our relationship changed from one extreme to the other.
I wasn't a subcontractor (see the "sub" in the word) in this company, so my situation was different and I could directly talk to the big boss, that is an unvaluable advantage. But I was during many years a subcontractor in a big texan company, so I really understand what Jordan did (and didn't do: talk to the HR) and think he did well. Well because he left before being totally destroyed by this guy and also well because by making it public it is much more efficient than if he kept it private. This way he will probably save his ex-coleagues "life" at Apple: the guy will change or will be fired... I hope... for Apple
Well, I agree that there are definitely some very bad bosses out there. And harassment takes many forms. (There are also crazy employees out there, too. Crazy people need jobs, too.) What does a subcontractor do when the work environment is bad? (I know, I'll ask my personnel director.) We need a Dear Abbey column for work related issues.
Sometimes people don't share the same kind of humor. The important thing is to be able to empathize. But that is less a matter of effective networking, and more a matter of tolerating people with whom one does not necessarily get along.
It is true that there are different ways of harassing a colleague or an employee in this case. The important thing is to watch one's own behavior and be sensitive to the desires and the preferences of those around you without being overly senstiive to what people might do to you in turn.
Unless your objective is to make the newspaper headlines, saying bad things about former employers is maladaptive. Interviewers for future employment cannot help but wonder what you'll be saying about them (justified or not) when you move on.