Apple has violated US labor laws through various workplace rules and statements by executives, National Labor Relations Board officials found after examining allegations by two former employees. An NLRB official will file a formal grievance against Apple unless the company reaches an agreement with the former employees who filed grievances about Apple’s focus on secrecy.
An NLRB spokesman confirmed to Ars today that the Labor Authority’s regional office “believed four counts of allegations alleging violations of various labor rules, manual rules and confidentiality rules at Apple Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act because they are reasonably inclined to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in exercising their right to protected concerted activities.”
The regional office “also upheld an indictment alleging that statements and conduct by Apple — including senior executives — also violated the National Labor Relations Act,” the NLRB statement said. This is apparently a reference to an email in which Apple CEO Tim Cook warned staff not to disclose any confidential information.
Like the New York Times wroteThe NLRB findings were in response to “five charges filed in late 2021 by two former Apple employees, Ashley Gjovik, Apple’s manager of technical programs for six years, and Cher Scarlett, an engineer on the company’s security team… Both women.” were involved with the #AppleToo activist group, which has been collecting reports of abuse, harassment and retaliation at the company.”
The former employees “accused the company of trying to prevent the group from collecting payroll data from employees, including through harassment,” and “said the company’s labor rules prevented them from discussing wages, hours and terms of employment.” , according to the NYT story.
Gjovik’s complaints claimed that “various Apple rules, including those related to confidentiality and monitoring policies, prevent employees from discussing issues such as pay equity and gender discrimination with each other and with the media.” according to Reuters. Gjovik also cited a 2021 email from Apple CEO Tim Cook that allegedly tried to block workers from speaking to the press, saying, ‘People who are giving out confidential information don’t belong here .'”
NLRB urges parties to come to an agreement
We’ve contacted Apple regarding the NLRB result and will update this article when the company provides a response.
The regional bureau’s finding that the charges are valid is not an NLRB ruling, but could lead to a formal indictment against Apple. The NLRB statement said: “If the parties do not agree, the regional director will file a complaint and pursue these charges in a hearing before an administrative judge who could order appeals.”
An administrative judge’s decision was subject to appeal to the Board of Directors, and a Board decision was subject to appeal to a federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
The NLRB’s standard process is for the agency to help the parties reach an agreement. “If the NLRB investigation finds sufficient evidence to support the charges, every effort will be made to facilitate a settlement between the parties. If no agreement is reached in a meritorious case, the agency files a complaint,” reads an NLRB website explained.
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