Apple reportedly tells workers they're allowed to discuss conditions and pay

The statement comes despite employee claiming labor violations.

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Jon Fingas
November 20th, 2021
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Apple CEO Tim Cook (C) looks at the new Apple iPhone 11 Pro during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled several new products including an iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch Series 5 and seventh-generation iPad.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple might be eager to minimize future complaints about working conditions. NBC News said it obtained a newly released internal memo telling employees they're allowed to discuss conditions and pay outside the company. Staffers should be free to talk about issues in the way they "feel most comfortable," including with managers and the People (human resources) team.

We've asked Apple if it can confirm the memo and comment on the release. The statement would reinforce the rights private workers already have under the National Labor Relations Act, which lets workers both organize and discuss conditions, as well Apple's own conduct policy.

Provided the news is accurate, it could represent a bittersweet moment for critics of Apple's working culture. The memo supports their beliefs the company unfairly limited talk about labor issues by shutting down surveys and Slack channels. Employees like Ashley Gjøvik also accused Apple of punishing workers for speaking out for by putting them on leave or even firing them.

However, the statement is also coming too late to prevent significant damage. Apple now faces eight labor charges alleging issues like harassment and wrongful dismissal. Outspoken #AppleToo advocate Cher Scarlett (who settled with Apple) just left the company, too. While a memo like this might allow more discussion going forward, it can't change the past.

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