Apple Shifts on Muzzling Employees

Internal post affirms right to discuss pay with colleagues or outside the company
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2021 12:10 PM CST
Apple Shifts on Muzzling Employees
CEO Tim Cook attends an event Friday at an Apple store at the Grove in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

In the face of an employee movement on the issue, Apple has told its workers that nothing in its rules restricts them from freely discussing working conditions and pay, inside or outside the company. The post went up on an internal site Friday evening, CNN reports. "Our policies do not restrict employees from speaking freely about their wages, hours, or working conditions," the statement said. "We encourage any employee with concerns to raise them in the way they feel most comfortable, internally or externally." Apple did not otherwise comment on its announcement.

That right is contained not just in Apple's business conduct policy, per NBC, but in the National Labor Relations Act. But some employees have said the company hasn't always followed that stance, and shareholders and activists this year have been unable to get Apple to get its restrictive employment agreements to reflect it, per the Verge. Two employees started an #AppleToo effort this summer and have solicited accounts of racism, sexism, discrimination, and other issues their co-workers have encountered in the company. Janneke Parrish, one of the organizers, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board saying she was fired last month in retaliation for her efforts to organize.

Since August, seven other unfair labor practices charges have been filed against Apple, one of which has been dismissed. If any of them are successful, the NLRB could make the company post similar announcements. The one made Friday represents a victory for workers, said a professor at the University of California's Hastings College of Law. "But it also underscores how little the law deters unfair labor practices, and how little workers can get when their rights to organize are violated," Veena Dubal said. (The company made another about-face last week.)

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