Apple hides job titles of ex-employees, reclassifies them all as 'associates'

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#AppleToo organizer Cher Scarlett says she failed to get a new job because Apple unilaterally changes ex-employees' job titles, meaning her resume no longer tallied with Apple's records.




Before she left Apple, Cher Scarlett was an early founder of the #AppleToo movement. Since leaving, she's argued against Apple attempting to get her to sign an NDA, and has now also revealed a peculiar business practice at the company.

According to The Washington Post, once someone leaves the company, Apple revises the public record of their job title. Regardless of their actual job title while employed, Apple reportedly changes it always and only read "Associate."

Possibly it's a secrecy move to make it harder to determine patterns if certain related groups of people leave at the same time. But regardless of Apple's reasons, Scarlett says that the result is that a company rescinded its job offer to her.

Reportedly, a job verification service was unable to verify her resume because of the change. The verification was delayed by almost a week, and during that time, the company withdrew its job offer.

The Washington Post reports that an Apple spokesperson confirmed that the firm has changed job titles to associate "for years," but did not provide an explanation.

"We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace," the spokesperson told the publication. "We take all concerns seriously and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters."

Separately, US state treasurers have asked the SEC to investigate Apple's use of NDAs with employees, as described by Scarlett.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    My wife works in HR and is frequently assisting with hiring (and separations). She also handles employment verification. She has repeatedly told me the only thing she can verify is if someone actually worked at her company, that’s it. Job titles shouldn’t matter in that case. 

    ETA: Asked my wife for clarification, here’s what she said, “Yeah we don't actually do it it's all outsourced so they can only give the high-level information they were employed at this company from this date to that one.  They can also get general titles, I believe. But it’s not uncommon for titles not to match. They also verify education, etc. generally just trying to make sure it all checks out at a high level.”

    I was a little off but my point is it’s unlikely this person didn’t get hired simply because Apple (supposedly) changed job titles on departure. 
    edited February 2022 lkruppRonnyDaddyGeorgeBMactechconcdoozydozenbloggerblogviclauyyccitpeksbyronllolliver
  • Reply 2 of 31
    I'm surprised any company is required to report whether someone ever worked at their company. Is one's employer a public record in some state or federal database?
    byronl
  • Reply 3 of 31
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    For as long as I can remember I've had the obligation to provide a reference be part of my employment contract.  Every time Apple and employment issues are mentioned it makes me glad I don't work there.  They seem like a pain in the ass.
    muthuk_vanalingamgrandact73byronl
  • Reply 4 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,135member
    My wife works in HR and is frequently assisting with hiring (and separations). She also handles employment verification. She has repeatedly told me the only thing she can verify is if someone actually worked at her company, that’s it. Job titles shouldn’t matter in that case. 

    ETA: Asked my wife for clarification, here’s what she said, “Yeah we don't actually do it it's all outsourced so they can only give the high-level information they were employed at this company from this date to that one.  They can also get general titles, I believe. But it’s not uncommon for titles not to match. They also verify education, etc. generally just trying to make sure it all checks out at a high level.”

    I was a little off but my point is it’s unlikely this person didn’t get hired simply because Apple (supposedly) changed job titles on departure. 
    Yep. Other than maybe a mom and pop type of business, no company will give out any information in addition to whether or not you worked there. Everyone learned that lesson when former employees would sue because their former employers would share why they were terminated or said the applicants were lousy performers. So, changing files to "Associate" makes perfect sense. That way the employee providing the verification can't accidentally provide too much info.


    I'm surprised any company is required to report whether someone ever worked at their company. Is one's employer a public record in some state or federal database?

    Basic reciprocal courtesy. Otherwise, applicants would just say they worked anyplace they want and completely fabricate resumes. This way, at least they know if the person was employed where they said the were. Like I said above, very unlikely that anything more would be divulged.

    GeorgeBMacbyronl
  • Reply 5 of 31
    hey - here's a thought.  Maybe the company rescinded their offer because they found out who they were dealing with.  Who wants to bring that into their organization?

     
    strongyGeorgeBMactechconcdoozydozenbloggerblogMicDorseyappleuseryeahtommikelebadmonkiloveapplegear
  • Reply 6 of 31
    Mental illness is real 

    The Drama Queen trying to create another new issue.  Likely the hiring company realized what a potential disaster they had on their hands 
    strongyGeorgeBMactechconcjas99doozydozenbloggerblogmike1dewmeMicDorseyiloveapplegear
  • Reply 7 of 31
    nizzard said:
    hey - here's a thought.  Maybe the company rescinded their offer because they found out who they were dealing with.  Who wants to bring that into their organization?

     
    thats what i was thinking, this was their way out without her screwing them too in a few years.
    mike1iloveapplegearlolliveromasou
  • Reply 8 of 31
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    mike1 said:


    I'm surprised any company is required to report whether someone ever worked at their company. Is one's employer a public record in some state or federal database?

    Basic reciprocal courtesy. Otherwise, applicants would just say they worked anyplace they want and completely fabricate resumes. This way, at least they know if the person was employed where they said the were. Like I said above, very unlikely that anything more would be divulged.


    Not everybody is obsessed with privacy.  But it's becoming epidemic in so called "free societies".
  • Reply 9 of 31
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    As others have said:  It's been my understanding for decades that the only thing an employer will verify is that the person worked there -- and maybe the dates.   They especially won't reveal whether they thought they were a good employee or not.

    But, Apple reporting all employees as an "associate" is probably a bad choice of words because it implies a low level employee -- like a sales person in an Apple store when the person could have been a high level engineer.
    grandact73
  • Reply 10 of 31
    My wife works in HR and is frequently assisting with hiring (and separations). She also handles employment verification. She has repeatedly told me the only thing she can verify is if someone actually worked at her company, that’s it. Job titles shouldn’t matter in that case. 

    ETA: Asked my wife for clarification, here’s what she said, “Yeah we don't actually do it it's all outsourced so they can only give the high-level information they were employed at this company from this date to that one.  They can also get general titles, I believe. But it’s not uncommon for titles not to match. They also verify education, etc. generally just trying to make sure it all checks out at a high level.”

    I was a little off but my point is it’s unlikely this person didn’t get hired simply because Apple (supposedly) changed job titles on departure. 
    Yes, this is exactly true.  This function is typically outsourced for most companies and it's just the very basic employment date history information.  

    That said, this story doesn't make sense.  If he offer was rescinded it's likely for other reasons and not because of Apple's "Associate" job title convention. 
    williamlondonviclauyycbyronl
  • Reply 11 of 31
    If a company doesn’t want to give out titles of former employees then they can clearly state that is their policy or even just omit answering that question but they shouldn’t be fabricating one that may lead to confusion.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 12 of 31
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 453member
    Companies can only say yes or no if queried about a former employee’s time working for them without risk of legal action. 

    They probably recognized her name and their vetting company gave them the heads up. They opted out of her and told her that was the reason. 

    No one in their right mind hires anyone who has gone public with any information about a company. Hiring them is like hiring a bank robber to work at a bank. 
    GeorgeBMactechconc
  • Reply 13 of 31
    M68000M68000 Posts: 531member
    Well,  I think being called an associate is 100 times better than being called a “resource”.  It makes me cringe when I hear management at companies refer to people as “resources”. It sounds demeaning,  as if a “resource” is like a light bulb that can be switched out or more brought in for example.    I would never refer to an employee as a resource.  It sounds so impersonal and disengaged from anything that resembles a team
    chadbagwilliamlondonviclauyyc
  • Reply 14 of 31
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    M68000 said:
    Well,  I think being called an associate is 100 times better than being called a “resource”.  It makes me cringe when I hear management at companies refer to people as “resources”. It sounds demeaning,  as if a “resource” is like a light bulb that can be switched out or more brought in for example.    I would never refer to an employee as a resource.  It sounds so impersonal and disengaged from anything that resembles a team

    Agreed.
    When I started work back in 1986 for an IT startup we, the employees, were told:
    "You are our only asset.  The success of our company depends on you.  The person picking up the phone to answer a client's call is THE most important member of our company.  We will support you in any way that you need."

    A few years later we had a massive snow storm and nobody could get in or out of the company.  But its computers still had to run 7x24 -- there was no option for a shut down.   Operating personnel stayed on the job without leaving for 3 days.   Executives used their personal cars to funnel food and necessities to them.

    Everybody, from the lowest computer operator to the highest executive thought they were any better than the other -- and all served each other and the common purpose.

    We had no "human resources".  But we did work our asses off -- and enjoyed doing it.
    viclauyyc
  • Reply 15 of 31
    Had she applied during her tenure she would have had no issues. Also, the agency likely discovered all the drama that this person caused Apple and decided to pass.
    techconc
  • Reply 16 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,135member
    As others have said:  It's been my understanding for decades that the only thing an employer will verify is that the person worked there -- and maybe the dates.   They especially won't reveal whether they thought they were a good employee or not.

    But, Apple reporting all employees as an "associate" is probably a bad choice of words because it implies a low level employee -- like a sales person in an Apple store when the person could have been a high level engineer.

    I've worked for two larger companies that referred to people as associates rather than employees or workers. I personally don't see the implication of low-level. I think it is a more inclusive word when referring to all employees, regardless of management level. Just my opinion.
    techconcchadbagwilliamlondonrrabu
  • Reply 17 of 31
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,821member
    Personally I've always thought "associate" was a dumb word for an employee.  I am not just "associated" with the company, I am employed and actively engaged for the company.   And, at least in my experience in the US, you tend to hear it more in retail environments for the sales force or employees in the store -- low level. I am not saying it is only used that way and I am sure "Target" or other store that might call their employees "associates" also call the non sales force, non low level people, "associates", but my actual experience with it as an outsider to the company leaves that impression.

    To this whole Cher Scarlett thing:  what did she expect?  She has painted a huge target on herself and drawn attention to herself.  No company wants a drama queen or someone who has drawn attention, and not necessarily in a good way, to themselves.  SMH.

    I agree that everywhere I have worked will only confirm an employee worked there -- they won't say good or bad or usually the capacity the person worked there.  SOP.

    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 18 of 31
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,649member
    M68000 said:
    Well,  I think being called an associate is 100 times better than being called a “resource”.  It makes me cringe when I hear management at companies refer to people as “resources”. It sounds demeaning,  as if a “resource” is like a light bulb that can be switched out or more brought in for example.    I would never refer to an employee as a resource.  It sounds so impersonal and disengaged from anything that resembles a team

    Totally agree about the "resource" thing, like being just another drumstick in a big ol' bucket of fried chicken. But what is even more demeaning and dehumanizing is when employees are referred to as "human capital." Time to fire up those recruiters and start mining us some of that high grade human capital.

    It could be worse. The self disparaging self referral of employees themselves as being "minions" could become officially adopted within a company. Why not? As long as they keep paying them and they're generally happy with their jobs, who cares if they call them "minions?" 

    I find it very hard to believe that a company would rescind a job offer based on a job title verification mismatch (syntax error!) against her resume, as she claims. Way too convenient. I'm assuming that prior to extending the offer they ran her through a rigorous interview gauntlet with several current staff members, managers, and at least one HR rep. The interview process would have established a good level of understanding about whether she was a good candidate for the position, regardless of whatever job title she presented on her resume and in conversations with those in the hiring process.

    Everyone who's ever interviewed external candidates understands that job titles aren't universal and transferable credentials between companies, especially with companies of different sizes. If you state in your resume that you were the Engineering Project Manager for the "UltraProbe Stratus 2020 XS," don't you think you'd have to explain during the interview what that really entails to someone who has no insight into what your ex-company does? This ambiguity trap is likely a key reason why companies come up with generic industry wide terms or completely strip away job titles from ex-employee inquiries.

    It is possible that the hiring company used the "syntax error" as a soft excuse for rescinding their offer upon discovering the massive amount of baggage she would bring into their organization. This would have zero to do with Apple, but would be a huge sigh of relief from the hiring organization upon having dodged a bullet and not looking like the bad guy. 

    In any case, Apple probably should have just said that her job title at Apple was "minion."  
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 19 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,341member
    So what an AppleInsider wordsmith decided to label as a ‘peculiar business practice’ turns out to be the defacto standard for employment inquiries and HR policies. Do the writers of this crap ever do any research before smearing Apple? Or is it just about smearing Apple? 
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 20 of 31
    She should have read the fine print.
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