Apple says workers have right to discuss pay, but scrutiny of employee policy intensifies

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2021
Apple this week informed employees that they have a right to discuss wages and pay-related complaints externally, but the company faces mounting pressure over its employee policies, including a recently filed Securities and Exchange Commission complaint.

Apple Park


Staff in the U.S. were made aware of their express rights in a memo posted to Apple's people site, reports NBC News. The memo marks a noted shift in policy for a company that has over the past months worked to tamp down attempts to organize over similar matters.

"Our policies do not restrict employees from speaking freely about their wages, hours, or working conditions," the memo reads, according to the report. "We encourage any employee with concerns to raise them in the way they feel most comfortable, internally or externally, including through their manager, any Apple manager, People Support, People Business Partner, or Business Conduct."

The internal communique does not express entitlements unique to Apple employees, as rights to organize and speak out about wages are covered by the National Labor Relations Act. The page itself is a new post that underscores text from Apple's public Business Conduct Policy document.

While it is being hailed by the press and some employee rights advocates as a win for workers, it is unclear what impact the memo will have, if any, on Apple staff at large.

Company workers have been pushing for more transparency on pay equity issues, with some creating surveys for the purpose. Apple squashed those attempts and shut down an internal Slack channel dedicated to discussion of the issue in August.

In September, SVP of Retail and People Deirdre O'Brien issued a memo to address chatter over pay equity and workplace issues, saying Apple's approach to the former is "best in class." O'Brien also urged staff to reach out to managers or human resources about wage and workplace concerns.

Today's memo arrives as Apple faces increased scrutiny over its employee policies. Now-former employees Cher Scarlett and Janneke Parrish helped form the so-called #AppleToo movement, which gathered and publicly shared stories about alleged racism, sexism, inequality and other workplace issues. Scarlett also filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint claiming Apple retaliated against workers who attempted to discuss pay.

Parrish was fired in October for deleting files off a work phone during an investigation. Scarlett this week said she was leaving Apple and would drop her NLRB complaint after settling with the company.

The NLRB is investigating seven other labor charges against Apple, including multiple complaints from former software engineering manager Ashley Gjovik. Gjovik, who earlier this year aired concerns over workplace safety issues, sexism and discrimination, was fired in September for allegedly leaking intellectual property.

In October, Gjovik filed an SEC complaint targeting Apple's statements in response to a shareholder resolution that sought to exempt instances of workplace harassment and discrimination from employee nondisclosure agreements. At the time, Apple refused to consider the proposal, saying it had contingencies in place for such exceptions.

From Gjovik's SEC filing, reported here for the first time:
The statements made by Apple Inc. to response to the Shareholder Resolution introduced by Nia Impact Capital includes false & misleading statements of material importance. With the SEC's recent prioritization of enforcing ESG commitments and verifying disclosures, Apple Inc. must be investigated for making false statements to its shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Apple continues to deny its now well-known and public issues with discrimination, retaliation, work conditions, labor compliance, and intimidation of employees. Apple's response ignored the numerous open government investigations into its labor practices and the active use of over-broad confidentiality agreement to terminate employees speaking out about labor conditions and/or reporting unlawful activity by Apple to authorities.
"Apple has a very long history of labor offenses, both civil and criminal," Gjovik said in a statement to AppleInsider. "They are also facing a major investigation by the NLRB into their internal employee policies and the threatening memo Tim Cook sent Apple employees in September. Apple is the biggest company in the world and has more money and power than some nations. We must hold it accountable, we must demand transparency, and we must not look the other way just because we like its gadgets."

A previous version of this story incorrectly suggested that the wage memo was an update of existing online documents. AppleInsider was later informed that the post is new. The article has been updated with the correct information.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Snore…

    If you have a problem go discuss it.

    If you think someone owes you something then discuss it.

    Talk things out or leave for a better job somewhere else.

    So many employers who are abusive narcissists and or entitled narcissist employees these days.

    Everyone has struggles. Speak up and or if the workplace sucks find another job.
    dewmellamaapplguy
  • Reply 2 of 9
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,027member
    I just re-read the leaked “threatening Tim Cook” letter.  To see that letter as threatening you cannot be right in the head or you are knowingly promoting a falsehood.

    Even as a “microaggression.”

    I suspect this small number of employees don’t live in the real world and would do poorly in any work environment.
    scout6900scout6900dewme
  • Reply 3 of 9
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,764member
    I worked for a DOE contractor and after a management change, we were forbidden to discuss our salary with anyone. It used to be salaries were common knowledge. They were easy to determine. Then it changed and they could give any employee what they wanted and nobody would know whether someone you were supervising actually got more money than you. At least Apple is allowing employees to discuss their salaries. 
  • Reply 4 of 9
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,853member
    Employees seem to think they're the ones holding the ball with their employers.  Let them have that hard reality check.

    The reality is that employers high employees because employees provide a specific skill the company needs and are compensated for it.

    Now, if you don't like the compensation, discuss it.  If the employer rejects your request, either accept it or move on.  The employer owes you nothing.  You're more than welcome to quit, find another job, or start your own company and be on the receiving end.

    I think this is a result of these adults grown up as children by parents that demanded one too many participation trophies for them because "everyone is in first place".
    dewmemacxpress
  • Reply 5 of 9
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,320member
    sflocal said:
    The employer owes you nothing. 
    No, the employer owes you what they are contractually and legally obligated to give you.
    dewmellama
  • Reply 6 of 9
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,006member
    Re: "Apple has a very long history of labor offenses, both civil and criminal," Gjovik said in a statement to AppleInsider. "They are also facing a major investigation by the NLRB into their internal employee policies and the threatening memo Tim Cook sent Apple employees in September. Apple is the biggest company in the world and has more money and power than some nations. We must hold it accountable, we must demand transparency, and we must not look the other way just because we like its gadgets."

    This reads like something you’d expect from someone laboring in a coal mine in the 1930s. No, I didn’t have to walk 10 miles to school, uphill both ways, and without shoes, subsiding solely on pocket lint, but the pendulum seems to have swung so far in the direction of narcissism and entitlement that it borders on absurdity. Last time I checked Apple wasn’t conscripting young people for service or ripping them from the warmth of their mother’s arms to work in the salt mines of Cupertino. They do get paid, rather handsomely, coddled with benefits, sheltered in clean and brightly lit offices in museum-like structures festooned with artwork, get to go home at the end of their workday, and are generally able to enjoy lifestyles accessible only to the top 5% of people who work for a living.

    Please forgive me for not crying a single tear about the “horrific plight” that they must endure to bring the best world class gadgets to the rest of the world, even to those who have to struggle with far fewer benefits than what they seem to take for granted, and in some cases, seem to resent. There is something truly messed up in the brains of these adult-sized children.
    llamamuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 9
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,217member
    crowley said:
    sflocal said:
    The employer owes you nothing. 
    No, the employer owes you what they are contractually and legally obligated to give you.
    Yes but that doesn't mean everyone's salary has to be the same in the end. An employer isn't legally obligated to make everything equal. I'm thinking that's what sflocal kinda meant. An employer doesn't need to be equal across the board and has set equal salaries for each dept and/or position. If you don't like what you're being paid then you discuss it and if you don't get anywhere then everyone is free to look for some place else to work. I will say an employer should be taking reasonable steps to make its employees happy. I say reasonable because some people's expectations are very unrealistic. A company can do little things to make its employees happy with perks and conveniences. 

    Honestly I never discuss salaries with my peers. Someone always ends up getting pissed off in the end. It's just not worth it for myself, the team, or anyone else. 
    edited November 2021 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 9
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,611member

    Either this article is trying to mislead or Apple is not smart saying it encourages employees to openly discuss pay compensation. Because of human nature, this only brings dissatisfaction to what employees think their contribution value to Apple and there compensation vs others being paid. Brings jealously and all shorts of conflicts. It is best salary/benefits compensation to keep between employer and employee and must not be discussed openly and must be considered as a confidential matter
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 9
    I was under the impression that the labor laws in California didn't permit employers to restrict employees from talking about their compensation?  If so, this amounts to Apple acknowledging that they comply with the law.
Sign In or Register to comment.