Apple violated workers’ rights, NLRB investigators say


Apple illegally imposed rules on its employees that barred them from discussing their salaries and engaging in other protected activity, according to investigators from the National Labor Relations Board.

The NLRB agents’ findings found that “various work rules, handbook policies, and privacy policies at Apple” were unlawful because they “reasonably tended to interfere with, restrict, or coerce employees” who were trying to assert their labor rights, NLRB spokeswoman Kayla Blado told CNN on Tuesday.

The investigation involves several allegations dating back to 2021, Blado said, some of which blamed Apple for interfering with employees’ attempts to collect wage data and for “oppressive activity that allowed abuse and harassment of organizers.” One of the accusations claimed Apple maintained “work rules that prohibit employees from discussing wages, hours, or other conditions of employment.”

Apple declined to comment. The agency’s findings were first reported by Bloomberg.

The rulings could put pressure on Apple to settle the charges or risk facing a formal complaint from NLRB prosecutors in an internal administrative proceeding — which could lead to an order to change Apple’s business practices. The NLRB does not have the power to impose penalties, but it can compel employers to implement “remedies,” according to its website.

According to Bloomberg, the lawsuits in question were filed by two former Apple employees, one of whom cited an email from CEO Tim Cook promising to address leaks at the company. Only some of the allegations made have been made public through Freedom of Information Act requests, and those available on the NLRB’s website have been partially redacted. The content of the investigators’ findings has also not been made public.

But Blado said that as part of the investigation, an NLRB regional office “found grounds for a charge alleging that statements and conduct by Apple — including high-level executives — also violated the National Labor Relations Act.”

The former employee who cited Cook’s email in her allegations, Ashley Govik, told CNN that she does not intend to accept any settlement offer from Apple because she hopes to force the company to admit it violated labor laws and change the policies it applies to its workforce.

“They don’t just have a sense of impunity — they actually have it with these policies,” Govik said, pointing to multiple privacy clauses in Apple’s employee handbook that she says allow Apple to harass and intimidate workers into keeping quiet about workplace retaliation. place. “I want to get to the heart of the problems I’ve seen.”

Apple has previously clashed with the NLRB over its treatment of workers who want to unionize at its retail stores.

Apple was hit with a complaint by the NLRB on charges that he questioned employees about their support for a union and selectively banned pro-union fliers from being posted in a break room at an Apple store in New York. Apple denied those claims in a filing with the NLRB.

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