Apple's resistance to hiring felons for Campus 2 construction is unusual, but not unprecedented

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
Apple has found itself in the midst of an unexpected controversy this week after it was revealed that the iPhone maker bars laborers with recent felony convictions from working on its new corporate campus, a practice that may be unusual among private companies, but is not without precedent.




Construction workers who have been convicted of a felony within the past seven years are banned outright from the project, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, while those whose convictions are over seven years old are allowed. If the worker has been charged with a felony but not yet convicted, their eligibility is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

This policy, which was apparently implemented in January, has reportedly affected "fewer than five" workers.

Labor leaders have panned Apple's approach, calling it "disturbing" and "antithetical to all the work that so many have been doing in recent years to lower California's recidivism rate." Others, like Calif. State Sen. Mark Leno, acknowledge that there are some situations in which past legal troubles might matter, but call on Apple to relax its restrictions in this scenario.

"There are certain positions where there is some nexus between the crime committed and the position offered. Construction does not appear to be one of those," Leno said. "In this situation, I would strongly suggest that this policy be changed."

Apple has long been known as one of the most secretive companies in the world, perhaps more so even than defense contractors. While prohibiting felons from construction employment may seem unusual for a company like Apple, it's actually a common practice for the likes of Boeing or Raytheon.

Many federal construction contracts, or contracts for private corporations working on behalf of the government, have even more stringent requirements. They often stipulate that a federal security clearance is a prerequisite --?while this does not automatically disqualify applicants with felony convictions, they do face a much steeper path to employment.


Apple Campus 2 Gates, from the sky


Numerous examples of similar hiring practices can be seen on online job searches, particularly those that cater to individuals who already hold clearance. This posting from Caddell Construction, for example, seeks workers with "a minimum secret security clearance" to take on duties including concrete pouring, asphalt paving, excavation, remodeling, roofing, metal building construction, ceramic tile and flooring, plumbing and sewer repair, or landscaping.

That Apple has adopted this stance should not be a surprise to anyone who follows the company -- its director of security operations is a former FBI special agent, and its software security chief spent years as a cryptologist in the U.S. Navy before joining the NSA.

Campus 2 is designed to "achieve the security and privacy required for the invention of new products by eliminating any public access through the site, and protecting the perimeters against trespassers," the company wrote in planning documents, naming security as one of its primary objectives.

Apple's plans for the new campus even include strategically-placed trees and high earthen berms around the perimeter --?topped with security fencing and cameras --?designed to not only secure the area, but to block any view of the buildings from public property. Apple security personnel already patrol the fence line around the clock, a practice that will continue after Apple moves in.

In an age where transmitters are small enough to be hidden in a cotton swab, one of the world's most security-conscious companies is simply treating the cement foundation of its new headquarters no differently than the innermost sanctum of its product development labs.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 77
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    Remembering the US embassy in the USSR (19 Tchaikovsky Street.)

    and previously, "The Thing"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thing_(listening_device)#Use_in_espionage
  • Reply 2 of 77
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post



    Remembering the US embassy in the USSR.



    Wouldn't be surprised if Apple sweeps for bugs continuously during the construction process.

  • Reply 3 of 77
    desuserigndesuserign Posts: 1,316member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    Wouldn't be surprised if Apple sweeps for bugs continuously during the construction process.


    I'd actually be surprised if they didn't.

  • Reply 4 of 77
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,196member

    I love the manufactured, contrived outrage from this "controversy", and the deserate attempts to define it as some sort of dicriminatory hypocrisy on Cook's part. Like the trash article below, as an example, where the author purposely equates felons and criminals in order to give an exaggerated stat:

     

    http://pando.com/2015/04/05/as-tim-cook-criticizes-indiana-apple-imposes-labor-discrimination-in-its-own-backyard/

     

    Why does the richest company in the world not have a right to filter out felons on the most important construction project in its history- especially when there's a shitload of non-felons who can also use the job?

  • Reply 5 of 77
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,105member

    The last place I worked out didn't hire felons either and if you were charged with a felony, you usually were fired. I understand that some felons regret what they did and are model citizens after being released from jail but I would bet the vast majority of them never learn and are very difficult to trust. Yes, I'm generalizing, but how many of you are willing to take a chance hiring a known felon to work on your house?

  • Reply 6 of 77
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,719member
    It's a non issue as other companies do the same thing. Apple isn't banning all felons and needs to protect itself from corporate espionage through the weakest link.
  • Reply 7 of 77
    rob53 wrote: »
    The last place I worked out didn't hire felons either and if you were charged with a felony, you usually were fired. I understand that some felons regret what they did and are model citizens after being released from jail but I would bet the vast majority of them never learn and are very difficult to trust. Yes, I'm generalizing, but how many of you are willing to take a chance hiring a known felon to work on your house?

    "Very difficult to trust" - Just for your own learning I suggest you do some reading on some of the things your fellow citizens are being imprisoned for. These aren't all rapists and murders. It's easy to get a felony for drugs. Not to mention the very strong gender/racial bias of the system.
  • Reply 8 of 77
    serendipserendip Posts: 93member
    If I thought I could get away with it.. i.e.. know a guy that knows a guy... I would definitely front $100k to put a bug in the boardroom of the new campus. It's a no brainer...
  • Reply 9 of 77
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    As a way to achieve security, this is pretty weak. A competitor wanting to spy on high-level decisions by planting a hidden mike in an executive conference room could simply pay an electrician in need of easy money. Once installed, who put it there would be hard to trace. But as someone else noted, Apple's best protection is to sweep for bugs regularly during construction.

    The sheer size of the place and those earthen berms around it are probably the best protection. The signal from a tiny bug simply won't have the umph to get out.

    I pity those who have to work in Apple's more secretive areas. Long ago, I did such work for a USAF contractor. Knowing but not saying can be stressful.
  • Reply 10 of 77
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,877member
    inkling wrote: »
    ... But as someone else noted, Apple's best protection is to sweep for bugs regularly during construction.

    The sheer size of the place and those earthen berms around it are probably the best protection.

    Some bugs are insanely small and simple, they fit under a layer of paint. However, nowadays you can shoot a fine laser beam at a window and read the vibrations, kinda similar to how CDs work, there are way more sinister ways to spy than the old fashion bug.
  • Reply 11 of 77
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,198member

    How can you blame Apple? With this being a construction site, I'm sure the probability of theft for things such as copper wire is high. I don't see anything wrong with not wanting to hire convicted felons.

  • Reply 12 of 77
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,492member

    Personally, I don't see how working on the external construction is a security risk.   I see some slight risk when they construct the interiors.   Most felony convictions are for attempted murder, manslaughter, assault, robbery, bank robbery, car theft, business fraud, drug sales, etc.   This might be of concern if Apple employees were already at the site, but they're not.   Aside from the security of the other construction workers and as long as all workers are checked as they leave the site each day to make sure they're not removing any construction materials, I don't see the harm in hiring felons for the external construction as long as the contractors take full responsibility for their actions.

     

    Since there are apparently only five workers in this situation, I wouldn't make a big deal out of it, but those few workers can easily be closely monitored. 

     

    We imprison a higher percentage of our population than any other country in the world.   We have to understand that that's not sustainable and find solutions to reduce the prison population.   But unless jobs are found for these people, they have almost no choice but to commit crimes again.

  • Reply 13 of 77
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

     

    I love the manufactured, contrived outrage from this "controversy", and the deserate attempts to define it as some sort of dicriminatory hypocrisy on Cook's part. Like the trash article below, as an example, where the author purposely equates felons and criminals in order to give an exaggerated stat:

     

    http://pando.com/2015/04/05/as-tim-cook-criticizes-indiana-apple-imposes-labor-discrimination-in-its-own-backyard/

     

    Why does the richest company in the world not have a right to filter out felons on the most important construction project in its history- especially when there's a shitload of non-felons who can also use the job?


    I feel certain there are people who go out of their way to find fault with Apple in some way or another.  There could be dozens of other companies with the same hiring practice but the anti-Apple factions will make it as though Apple is the only company doing this.  It is pretty ridiculous blaming Tim Cook directly as if he had set the precedent although it might be something he doesn't even deal with in his normal course of business.  I take this sort of reporting as a matter of fact because I know Apple is some sort of lightning rod when it comes to attracting the dirt of the news media.

  • Reply 14 of 77
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,745member

    Screw all felons and criminals. They should definitely be discriminated against.

     

    Felons should not be allowed to vote and they shouldn't be allowed to work on any Apple construction projects either.

  • Reply 15 of 77
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    zoetmb wrote: »
    Personally, I don't see how working on the external construction is a security risk. 

    Someone who gets to read the blueprints and has a cameraphone = security risk.
  • Reply 16 of 77
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,072member
    Every felon was once a non felon. Also a felon needs to be caught to be branded a felon. Successful felons are not caught.
  • Reply 17 of 77
    irelandireland Posts: 17,686member
    The biggest criminals in the US and in most other countries are its politicians.
  • Reply 18 of 77
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Does anyone realize how easy it is to get a felony? Like someone above posted, it's too easy. YOU can be a felon tomorrow.

    I grew up in a tough neighborhood and the cops there were handing out felonies like candy. J-Walking, traffic stops, suspicion of anything, heck even for just walking. The cops were playing the system like a game. I was almost a felon after a cop put me in handcuffs and continued to beat me at my High School. Luckily I had a good public defender who proved the police were lying, but you guessed it, they weren't tried for their crimes.

    Not all felons are criminals and not all
    criminals are felons. This should be obvious.
  • Reply 19 of 77
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,745member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cali View Post



    The uneducated bigot strikes back!

     

    Are you a felon or something? Or perhaps somebody in your family is a felon?

     

    I am in good company with Tim Cook and Apple here! We both discriminate against felons!

     

    If you don't like that, well then that's just too damn bad, and there aint a darned thing that you can do about it! <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" /> 

  • Reply 20 of 77
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    analogjack wrote: »
    Every felon was once a non felon. Also a felon needs to be caught to be branded a felon. Successful felons are not caught.

    EXACTLY. Not only that there are tons of people convicted of false crimes, especially if you were born the "wrong" race.

    Heck I had a white friend with a clean record. He would get any job he applied at because he "looked" nice. He was selling drugs, breaking all traffic laws and part of an illegal online ring.

    He thought it was strange how hard it was for me to find employment when I had the skills and wasn't doing anything illegal haha.
    ireland wrote: »
    The biggest criminals in the US and in most other countries are its politicians.

    The government and it's officials are NEVER wrong. They're all just little angels!!
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