Comments by Apple execs (including CEO Tim Cook and policies imposed on employees have been deemed illegal by US National Labor Relations Board prosecutors, who say they violate workers’ rights, reports Bloomberg.
The NLRB general counsel’s office has determined that “various work rules” imposed by the tech giant “tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees” from exercising their rights to collective action, spokesperson Kayla Blado said Monday. The agency “found merit to a charge alleging statements and conduct by Apple — including high-level executives.
Unless Apple settles, the NLRB regional director will issue a complaint against the tech giant, according to Bloomberg. The NLRB’s decision regards an employee email that was sent out by Cook last November that said that those who leak confidential information about Apple “do not belong” at the company.
Here’s part of Cook’s email: I’m writing today because I’ve heard from so many of you were incredibly frustrated to see the contents of the meeting leak to reporters. This comes after a product launch in which most of the details of our announcements were also leaked to the press.
I want you to know that I share your frustration. These opportunities to connect as a team are really important. But they only work if we can trust that the content will stay within Apple. I want to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to identify those who leaked. As you know, we do not tolerate disclosures of confidential information, whether it’s product IP or the details of a confidential meeting. We know that the leakers constitute a small number of people. We also know that people who leak confidential information do not belong here.
MacRumors points out that Cook’s email wasn’t referencing a product leak, but was instead aimed at employees who had shared details about a meeting focused on pay equity, working from home, COVID vaccinations, and more.
This isn’t the first accusations against Apple by the NLRB. In December 2022, the organizations said that the tech giant violated federal law by interrogating and coercing employees in Atlanta, Georgia.
And in October 2022, Apple received a complaint from the NLBR over accusations of union-busting at a New York City store. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) urged the board to do so when it accused Apple of anti-union activities at the company’s World Trade Center store on May 19, 2022.
That wasn’t the first time that the CWA has accused Apple of such activity and said the company had violated the National Labor Relations Act. On May 12, 2022,, leaked documents revealed Apple’s anti-union talking points to store leaders across the U.S. in the hopes that it would help suppress unionization efforts by retail workers.