A culture of discretion incompatible with the law governing employment across the Atlantic? Apple is suspected of having established confidentiality rules between employees that could be illegal, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the American federal agency in charge of the protection of workers.
This administration has recognized Ars Technica that at least four elements of Apple’s privacy policies violate the National Labor Relations Act, a law that seeks to protect the rights of private sector employees. The statements and behavior of high-level executives within the Cupertino company could also constitute a violation of the law, according to the agency.
The provisions put in place by Apple “interfere with, restrict or coerce employees” to take collective action. According to New York Timesthese statements from the NLRB support five complaints filed in 2021 by two former Apple employees: Ashley Gjovik, ex-head of engineering programs, and Cher Scarlett, once an engineer on the company’s security team.
Scathing email from Tim Cook
The two women, at the origin of the #AppleToo denunciation movement against harassment at work, denounce Apple’s corporate culture, which they believe is turned towards secrecy. The apple firm would have tried to prevent them from collecting salary data. It also did not allow them to discuss with their colleagues the issue of remuneration, working hours or conditions of employment.
At that time, Tim Cook sent a company-wide email, in which he wrote: “People who divulge confidential information have no place here. [Apple] does not tolerate the disclosure of confidential information, whether it is intellectual property of a product or details of a confidential meeting.”
In the event that Apple fails to reach an agreement with the employees behind these accusations, the US administration reserves the right to file a complaint against it. Contacted by Ars Technicathe firm co-founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak did not comment on the case.
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