After months of mixed messages about whether they could talk about their salary, Apple has done so explicitly told employees that they are free to talk about the money they earn, their working hours or working conditions.
On Saturday, NBC News reported that the technology giant had clarified its position on these issues in a note to employees posted on one of its internal websites. The move was made in light of employees’ actions regarding equity in recent months, including the launch a number of surveys and a Relax channel on the topic as well as unite below #AppleToo movement, although Apple claims that there is no difference.
Despite Apple’s insistence that payroll liquidity is a non-issue in the company, and its opposition to employees’ actions in the case, talking about pay and working conditions is protected according to federal law. Apple’s note was confirmed by New York Times and other outlets.
About 80,000 of the company’s salaried and hourly employees in the United States have access to the internal page where the memo was posted, according to NBC.
“Our guidelines do not restrict employees from talking freely about pay, hours or working conditions,” the memo states. “We encourage all employees with concerns to educate them in the way they feel most comfortable, internally or externally, including through their manager, Apple CEO, People Support, People Business Partner or Business Conduct.”
Gizmodo contacted Apple on Saturday to confirm the legitimacy of the note and request further comments on the matter, but we did not receive a response by the time of publication. We will make sure to update this blog if we hear back.
Although the company had stated in an October 2020 issue of its business behavior policy that nothing in the said document shall be construed «as being restrictive of [employee] the right to speak freely »about pay, hours or working conditions, recent actions by Apple gave the opposite impression.
In August, Cher Scarlett, a senior software engineer at Apple, told Gizmodo that the company had prevented three attempts to conduct a wage transparency survey among employees. At the time, the company said the surveys were one incorrect collection of employee data. Scarlett went on to file a complaint against Apple’s actions with the National Labor Relations Board claim that the company “engaged in coercive and oppressive activity that has enabled the abuse and harassment of organizers of protected coordinated activity”.
Meanwhile, in September, Apple rejected a request from activists and shareholders to edit the employment contracts to make it clear that workers can talk about their working conditions. reported Verge, referring to the fact that such language was already in business conduct policy.
The last few days, Scarlett withdrew the NLRB complaint after reaching a settlement with Apple, whose details were not disclosed, saying she left the company.