Apple's internal report says that it doesn't stifle employee speech

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2022
An internal evaluation of Apple's practices surrounding employee gag orders and arbitration clauses has found the company well within compliance of rules and regulations.

Apple employees have the right to complain, says Apple
Apple employees have the right to complain, says Apple


A number of employees at Apple have been upset with their working conditions for some time. Apple Stores have begun unionizing, an Australian store is planning a Christmas strike, and employee organizations have been vocal about harassment.

Due to the ongoing strife, and potential for legal action, shareholders requested that Apple produce a report "assessing the potential risks to the company associated with its use of concealment clauses in the context of harassment, discrimination and other unlawful acts." The report released on Friday claims Apple is well within its legal boundaries and, in fact, exceeds what the law requires.

The Business Conduct Policy allows employees to speak freely about wages, hours, and working conditions to include information about harassment, discrimination, or any conduct deemed unlawful. The only restriction on speech is confidentiality agreements around unreleased products and non-public business information.

Apple says that no policy should be interpreted as being restrictive of an employee's right to speak out against the workplace.

Harassment and discrimination issues can be taken to court and are automatically excluded from the employee arbitration agreement. Claims related to wages or overtime and other such workplace issues may still be subject to arbitration.

Apple has also included language from California's Silenced No More Act voluntarily. It is also enforced for every Apple employee in the U.S., regardless of where they work.

Outside counsel reviewed the report and confirmed that it is Apple's global policy not to restrict employees' or independent contractors' ability to speak freely about harassment, discrimination, or unlawful conduct. In some instances, Apple's rules may be interpreted as restricting a person's ability to speak about such conduct, but Apple has committed to not enforcing those restrictions and to make improvements and clarifications going forward.

The report was reviewed and approved by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of Apple's Board of Directors in November 2022.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,588member
    Ok, that’s all fine and good, but being that it was an internal report, it will be viewed by many with a jaundiced eye. It would have been better to have the examination done by a group from outside, especially one with a reputation in the worker’s rights community. Outside counsel may have reviewed the report, but that won’t really help. 
    ronn
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Apple employees don't talk on social media because they're worried about being fired.  This so called report reminds me of the government investigating itself and finding no wrong doing.  If you want freedom of speech you definitely cannot work for Apple.
    ronnmuthuk_vanalingamentropysJaiOh81grandact73
  • Reply 3 of 14
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,558member
    Apple employees don't talk on social media because they're worried about being fired.  This so called report reminds me of the government investigating itself and finding no wrong doing.  If you want freedom of speech you definitely cannot work for Apple.
    Apple has many long range projects in progress you don’t get talk about them before release simple……
  • Reply 4 of 14
    ronnronn Posts: 567member
    This is like the police investigating rogue members and not finding them at fault. Surprise! I agree with @DAalseth , an outside group should have conducted the review and reported it with Apple.
    muthuk_vanalingamJaiOh81grandact73
  • Reply 5 of 14
    Apple employees don't talk on social media because they're worried about being fired.  This so called report reminds me of the government investigating itself and finding no wrong doing.  If you want freedom of speech you definitely cannot work for Apple.
    That argument could apply to any company, particularly in states with at-will employment.
    pscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 14
    larryalarrya Posts: 593member
    In other words, Chinese human rights report finds no wrongdoing in China. 
    muthuk_vanalingamJaiOh81grandact73
  • Reply 7 of 14
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,167member
    A lot of people talk about "rights" when it comes to freer speech, but that's largely beside the point.  Apple has the right to stifle a lot more employee speech than you think, just as AppleInsider often stifles our speech when they (seemingly at random) ban all comments from under particular posts.  Sure, Apple and AppleInsider have the RIGHT to limit speech in accordance with their ownership rights and appropriate laws, but that means they CAN stifle speech quite a bit more than you think.

    This is why I prefer not to think of it in terms of my rights, your rights, Apple's rights or AppleInsider's rights.  A detailed study of "rights" will never satisfy anyone perfectly.  What we all need to do, either on an individual level or corporate level, is to strive for the freest speech possible within the confines of the law.  If I want to post under AppleInsider's article/ads about the MS Office license for $29, I should be able to do that, especially since I have purchased two licenses over the past year, for prices higher than that, and I am a satisfied customer.  Makes no sense to limit my good comment out of fear some bozo might come along and be a negative idiot.

    Freedom is risky but worth it.  And that has nothing to do with rights.  It's a noble goal we all should shoot for.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,348member
    DAalseth said:
    Ok, that’s all fine and good, but being that it was an internal report, it will be viewed by many with a jaundiced eye. It would have been better to have the examination done by a group from outside, especially one with a reputation in the worker’s rights community. Outside counsel may have reviewed the report, but that won’t really help. 
    And so the campaign to label Apple as the evil empire goes on. Name a corporation that doesn’t control employee speech to some extent. When you have a hundred thousand employees you’re going to have disgruntled ones for various reasons. Some reasons may be valid, some reasons may be just be personality related, some people just chafe under rules. But the complainers get the eyes and ears of the press don’t they. I worked for the second largest employer in the U.S., second only to the government, Ma Bell. You could complain to your heart’s content until you started affecting the job or office continuity and morale. Then you got whacked.
    pmh
  • Reply 9 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,348member
    jdw said:
     If I want to post under AppleInsider's article/ads about the MS Office license for $29, I should be able to do that, especially since I have purchased two licenses over the past year, for prices higher than that, and I am a satisfied customer.  Makes no sense to limit my good comment out of fear some bozo might come along and be a negative idiot.
    And then this place turns into MacRumors. Is that what you want? AppleInsider overrun with idiots?
    ronn
  • Reply 10 of 14
    lkrupp said:
    DAalseth said:
    Ok, that’s all fine and good, but being that it was an internal report, it will be viewed by many with a jaundiced eye. It would have been better to have the examination done by a group from outside, especially one with a reputation in the worker’s rights community. Outside counsel may have reviewed the report, but that won’t really help. 
    And so the campaign to label Apple as the evil empire goes on. Name a corporation that doesn’t control employee speech to some extent. When you have a hundred thousand employees you’re going to have disgruntled ones for various reasons. Some reasons may be valid, some reasons may be just be personality related, some people just chafe under rules. But the complainers get the eyes and ears of the press don’t they. I worked for the second largest employer in the U.S., second only to the government, Ma Bell. You could complain to your heart’s content until you started affecting the job or office continuity and morale. Then you got whacked.
    Guess what - Nobody cares about the control of employee speech by Apple or other companies. It is the double-speak/hypocrisy/falsehood advertising that people get irritated with Apple on multiple occasions. Do I need to remind you about your own post on Apple's CEO few days ago, highlighting the exact same point? Apple can do all they want, but they should NOT try to paint a picture of being SAINTs while doing all the evil things in the world much like other companies (at least other companies do not try much to paint themselves as saints unlike Apple). This is what irritates people - the narrative that Apple's marketing postures to public than the reality.
    ronn
  • Reply 11 of 14
    ronnronn Posts: 567member
    jdw said:
    A lot of people talk about "rights" when it comes to freer speech, but that's largely beside the point.  Apple has the right to stifle a lot more employee speech than you think, just as AppleInsider often stifles our speech when they (seemingly at random) ban all comments from under particular posts.  Sure, Apple and AppleInsider have the RIGHT to limit speech in accordance with their ownership rights and appropriate laws, but that means they CAN stifle speech quite a bit more than you think.

    This is why I prefer not to think of it in terms of my rights, your rights, Apple's rights or AppleInsider's rights.  A detailed study of "rights" will never satisfy anyone perfectly.  What we all need to do, either on an individual level or corporate level, is to strive for the freest speech possible within the confines of the law.  If I want to post under AppleInsider's article/ads about the MS Office license for $29, I should be able to do that, especially since I have purchased two licenses over the past year, for prices higher than that, and I am a satisfied customer.  Makes no sense to limit my good comment out of fear some bozo might come along and be a negative idiot.

    Freedom is risky but worth it.  And that has nothing to do with rights.  It's a noble goal we all should shoot for.
    The issue is some hypocritical BS from Apple. They have to practice what they preach. And they were shown to be in violation of laws WRT employees sharing salary info, forcing NDAs for those that were victims of sexual harassment, and they were not as transparent as should be. Given the hyper political nature of some subjects, and the limited time staff have with dealing with nonsense, individual post authors or AI itself heads off the mess by not allowing comments, or closing comments. I know I'm guilty of responding to nonsense/BS when I see it's not deleted. I am trying to be a good AI citizen by restricting my comments to the subject and ignoring those that troll. If you want to talk about your MS license, there's nothing stopping you from creating a now thread in the forum area.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 14
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,793member
    Really? 
    Let’s ask Tony Blevins.
    matthewk
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Farmer: Mr. Fox, is that you what's been getting into my hen house and stealing my chickens?
    Mr. Fox:  Nope!  Sure ain't me!
    Farmer: Well, OK then.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 14
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,167member
    lkrupp said:
    jdw said:
     If I want to post under AppleInsider's article/ads about the MS Office license for $29, I should be able to do that, especially since I have purchased two licenses over the past year, for prices higher than that, and I am a satisfied customer.  Makes no sense to limit my good comment out of fear some bozo might come along and be a negative idiot.
    And then this place turns into MacRumors. Is that what you want? AppleInsider overrun with idiots?
    Although I prefer to post under articles here and not there, please know that is your take, not mine or the majority of people.  Fact is that when I Google a topic to get help on a Mac issue, more often than not, MacRumors forum posts will appear atop the results, not the AI forum, and I have been helped countless times by those so-called "idiots".

    ronn said:
    ...there's nothing stopping you from creating a now thread in the forum area.
    There is ME stopping me.  I only post in the AI forum under articles.  I am not a Forum Dweller.  You know the kind.  Those folks have thousands if not tens of thousands of posts to their name because they are addicted to a given forum and can't stop themselves.  That remains true regardless of bans on comments under particular articles.  Who is trying to assist those folks in getting professional help?  Seriously, some of these people have so many posts it makes you wonder if they ever go outside and see the light of the sun.

    I think it's important for me to say I am not one of those forum dwellers.  One can easily see that from my post count in this forum versus how many years I've been here -- since 2006 (which means 16 years, friend!).  That proves I post only under articles and limit myself to only meaningful posts.  If I was commented under everything, or trying to "be right" perpetually to get the last word, I'd probably have 10,000+ posts to my name by now.  But that isn't who I am and isn't what I want.

    I simply want freedom to post under more articles if the content prompts me to do so. That is what I mean by "freer speech" in all I've written thus far on the topic.  And as I stated previously, in my mind, that has NOTHING whatsoever to do with RIGHTS.  It's a goal we all should share, but sadly, as some of you seem to indicate, you couldn't care less about it.  That to me is quite worrying.  Almost as worrying as people without tens of thousands of posts to their name (i.e., folks who are very much addicted to a forum and really do need to take a break from posting as a result.)
    edited December 2022 muthuk_vanalingam
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