Labor officials found Apple executives violated workers’ rights

Labor officials found Apple executives violated workers’ rights

Labor officials found Apple executives violated workers' rights

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found complaints that senior Apple executives violated national labor laws to be valid. This discovery comes after the NLRB also found that Apple had illegally interfered with unionization at retail stores in New York and Atlanta.


These charges were filed by Ashley Gjovika former senior engineer program manager at Apple.

In an email to TechCrunch, Gjøvik explained that Apple’s employment policies “coercively silence Apple employees and prevent them from engaging in activity protected by terms that are too broad and vague, as well as through constant monitoring involvement”.

Gjøvik submitted a number of documents as part of its complaint to the NLRB, including an email from CEO Tim Cook. After a journalist live tweeted at an Apple All Hands meeting in September 2021, Cook sent a note to staff expressing frustration with media leaks.

“I want to assure you that we are doing everything in our power to identify those who have fled. As you know, we do not tolerate the disclosure of confidential information, be it intellectual property of a product or details of a confidential meeting,” Cook wrote. “We know that leakers are a small number of people. We also know that people who divulge confidential information have no place here.

A representative for the NLRB told TechCrunch that work rules, workbook rules, and privacy policies at Apple “tend to interfere with, restrict, or coerce employees in exercising their right to protected concerted activity,” according to these conclusions. In accordance with employment law, this “protected concerted” activity refers to actions such as speaking to the media or talking openly with colleagues about compensation and benefits, among other things. It is illegal for employers to threaten or question employees about their participation in these behaviors.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the NLRB’s findings.

Even when she was still an Apple employee, Gjøvik spoke out against the sexism she experienced in the workplace, as well as the way Apple monitors its employees. Last year, TechCrunch reported on complaints from Gjøvik whistleblowers about Gobbler (also known as Glimmer), an app that collects biometric data; it was apparently part of the product development process for Face ID. According to the complaint she filed with international watchdogs, Gjøvik felt that testing the Gobbler app was mandatory.

“Apple was pressuring employees to upload their ‘faceprint data’ to Apple’s internal servers, capturing secret photographs and videos of employees, and told employees that logs related to the face were automatically downloaded daily from their iPhone,” Gjøvik said at the time. She added that it was unclear what data was uploaded and which organizations within Apple’s corporate structure could access her personal information. As The Verge reported, Apple employees are often routinely barred from keeping work and personal cellphones and separate Apple IDs.

Gjøvik was fired by Apple in September 2021 for leaking confidential information; she told TechCrunch she believed she was fired in retaliation after reporting to the EPA that her office was built on Silicon Valley’s triple toxic waste site, where cracks in the floor exposed employees to hazardous materials. carcinogenic fumes.

The NLRB has yet to make a decision on Gjøvik’s complaints that she was unlawfully fired in retaliation for speaking out about working conditions.


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