Apple internal report says it doesn't suppress employee speech

Apple employees have the right to complain, says Apple


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An internal evaluation of Apple's practices related to employee confidentiality orders and arbitration clauses found that the company is in full compliance with the rules and regulations.

For some time, Apple employees have been dissatisfied with their working conditions. Apple stores have started unionizing, an Australian store is planning a Christmas strike, and employee organizations are vocal about harassment.

Due to the ongoing dispute and potential legal action, shareholders requested that Apple prepare a report “assessing the potential risks to the company associated with its use of cover-up provisions in the context of harassment, discrimination and other illegal activities.” The report, released on Friday, claims that Apple is within its legal boundaries and in fact exceeds the legal requirements.

The Business Conduct Policy allows employees to speak freely about wages, hours and working conditions, including information about harassment, discrimination or any behavior that is considered illegal. The only restrictions on freedom of speech are confidentiality agreements for unreleased products and non-public business information.

Apple states that no policy should be interpreted as restricting an employee's right to speak out against the workplace.

Harassment and discrimination issues can be taken to court and are automatically excluded from an employee arbitration agreement. Claims related to wages or overtime, and other similar workplace issues, may still be arbitrated.

Apple also voluntarily included the language of California's No Silence Act. It also applies to every Apple employee in the US, no matter where they work.

An external consultant reviewed the report and confirmed that it is Apple's global policy not to restrict the ability of employees or independent contractors to speak freely about harassment, discrimination, or illegal behavior. In some cases, Apple's policies may be interpreted as restricting an individual's ability to speak about such behavior, but Apple has committed not to enforce these restrictions and to make improvements and clarifications in the future.

The report was reviewed and approved by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Apple Board of Directors in November 2022.

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