Apple tells workers they have the right to discuss wages and working conditions

An Apple logo is pictured in an Apple Store in Paris, France, September 17, 2021. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes / File Photo

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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 20 (Reuters) – Apple delivered a message to employees on Friday that was striking given its reputation for secrecy: a reminder that workers can discuss wages, hours and working conditions.

The advice came as some employees pushed Apple to do more to ensure there aren’t unfair pay gaps across the company.

In an article posted on an internal site, Apple said its policies did not prevent employees from “talking freely” about working conditions, according to a copy of the message viewed by Reuters.

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“We encourage any employee with concerns to raise them in the way they feel most comfortable, internally or externally,” the post said.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

Apple’s business conduct policy already included language that said workers were not limited in their ability to discuss wages, hours, and working conditions, which is generally protected by U.S. law.

But employees who have spoken out in recent months have met with resistance, former Apple program manager Janneke Parrish said.

Parrish, who was fired after playing a leading role in employee activism, said she hoped Apple’s post would ease the way for others.

“The first step is to make sure people know their rights,” she said.

Apple previously said it does not discuss specific employee issues and is “deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace.”

The move comes amid a larger push by Silicon Valley workers to talk about their working conditions and the impact of technology on society.

Earlier this week, another prominent activist, Apple software engineer Cher Scarlett, wrote on Twitter that she was leaving the company.

Scarlett filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Apple had cut off salary discussions between employees. His lawyer, Aleksandr Felstiner, said the case had been settled and the charge would be withdrawn. Scarlett said she couldn’t comment.

Scarlett and Parrish worked together on “#AppleToo,” a group through which current and former employees shared stories about what they call harassment and discrimination.

Apple is known for its secret culture designed to keep details of new products secret. Employees sometimes ignore their right to talk about topics such as pay and working conditions, Parrish said.

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Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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