Apple Memo Says Employees Allowed to ‘Speak Freely’ About Wages, Working Conditions

On Friday, Apple reminded employees that they are allowed to discuss wages, hours, and working conditions and raise concerns over any of them, both internally and externally, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The notice came after months of employees rallying against pay inequity and airing workplace concerns, including discrimination, pushing Apple to do better.

“We encourage any employee with concerns to raise them in the way they feel most comfortable, internally or externally,” Apple wrote in a post on an internal site.

The post states that Apple’s policies do not prevent employees from “speaking freely” about working conditions, including pay. However, some of the company’s actions in recent times have implied otherwise.

In September, Apple shut down an internal Slack channel dedicated to the discussion of pay equity across the company — quite polarizing for an institution that claimed it had eliminated its gender pay gap in the U.S. as far back as 2016.

Apple is infamous for its secretive culture, originally designed to keep details of new products under wraps. An unintended consequence of that culture, however, is employees sometimes being unaware of their right to speak out about topics such as pay and working conditions under Apple’s business conduct policy.

The internal issues at Apple led to the creation of #AppleToo, a movement through which current and former employees started sharing stories of claimed harassment, discrimination, and other workplace concerns at the company.

Former Apple program manager Janneke Parrish, one of the pioneers of the #AppleToo movement who was fired for her role in it, said she hopes Apple’s reminder will ease the path for others.

“The first step is making sure people are aware of their rights,” she said.

Apple software engineer Cher Scarlett, another #AppleToo organizer, announced on Twitter earlier this week that she is leaving the company.

Scarlett had filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), claiming that Apple blocked discussions about pay among workers. According to her lawyer, Aleksandr Felstiner, the two parties have reached a settlement.

In September, Apple fired senior engineering program manager Ashley Gjovik after the latter raised concerns about harassment and workplace safety. Gjovik has filed NLRB charges, alleging Apple’s policies violate the National Labor Relations Act.

Apple has previously said it is “deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace.”

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