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Apple workplace rules violate U.S. labor laws, agency says

The US Labor Agency found that Apple has a workplace policy that illegally prevents employees from discussing working conditions.

The National Labor Relations Board will file a complaint regarding the policy and alleging that Apple executives made comments that prevent workers from organizing unless the company resolves the situation first, a spokesman for the agency said Monday in an email verified by Reuters.

The official sent an email to Ashley Gjovik, a former Apple senior engineer who filed a complaint against the company in 2021.

The NLRB investigates allegations made by workers and unions and decides whether to file formal complaints against companies. The agency may try to eliminate workplace policies and require employers to notify workers of violations of the law.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. The company said it takes employee complaints seriously and investigates them thoroughly.

An NLRB spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yovik said in an email on Tuesday that she hopes the development will encourage more Apple employees to talk about working conditions and get organized.

In her complaints, Yovick said various Apple policies, including those relating to privacy and surveillance policies, keep employees from discussing issues such as pay equity and gender discrimination with each other and with the media.

Gjovik also cited a 2021 email from Apple CEO Tim Cook that allegedly sought to prevent workers from talking to the press and said that “people who disclose sensitive information don’t belong here.”

Many technology companies have strict privacy policies designed to protect trade secrets.

US labor law prohibits policies that may prevent workers from exercising their right to associate for better working conditions.

Apple has faced several NLRB pending complaints, including one that the tech giant illegally forced workers at an Atlanta retail store to attend anti-union meetings. Apple denies wrongdoing.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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