NLRB Finds Apple And Its Execs Disregarded Employees’ Rights

The National Labor Relations Board announced Monday that it has found merit to four separate charges alleging that Apple violated labor laws by creating work and confidentiality rules that directly interfered with employees’ rights to protected concerted activity.

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NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado said the agency determined that various “work rules, handbook rules and confidentiality rules” violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which protects employees’ right to unionize or “join together to advance their interests as employees.”

In addition to those charges, the NLRB found merit to a charge claiming that statements made by Apple — “including high-level executives” — also violated the law, Blado claimed.

“If the parties don’t settle, the regional director will issue [a] complaint, prosecuting this charge in a hearing with an administrative law judge, who could order remedies,” Blado stated.

Bloomberg reported Monday that the dispute centers around Apple CEO Tim Cook’s increased emphasis on preventing workers from leaking confidential information to the media.

Former employees Ashley Gjovik and Cher Scarlett filed the cases in 2021, according to Bloomberg. Gjovik highlighted an email from Cook to all employees in which he said that people who leak the company’s confidential information “do not belong here” and that Apple was working to identify those responsible for prior leaks.

Gjovik also outlined company policies preventing employees from sharing co-workers’ compensation, talking to reporters, posting certain content on social media and disclosing “business information.” In her case, Scarlett cited guidelines prohibiting workers from discussing wages, hours or any other terms of employment.

Under the protections of the NLRA, all employees have the right to engage in concerted activities “for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” Employers cannot intimidate employees or “promulgate, maintain or enforce work rules that reasonably tend to inhibit employees from exercising their rights under the act.” According to the NLRB, concerted activities encompass actions like discussing wages, benefits or other working conditions with colleagues but also spans to joining together and speaking with a government agency or the media about issues in the workplace.

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