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Apple's Employee Rules Violate Worker Rights, US Officials Say

Executive statements and policies "interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees," according to the US National Labor Relations Board.

An eco-inspired green Apple logo at one the retail stores
The US National Labor Relations Board has turned its attention towards Apple.
James Martin/CNET

The US National Labor Relations Board has agreed with charges that Apple interfered with employees' rights, it confirmed to CNET via email on Tuesday. The tech giant did so through high-level executives' statements, work rules, policies and confidentiality agreements, said the NLRB.

"They reasonably tend to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their right to protected concerted activity," NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado said. 

If Apple doesn't settle, the NLRB regional director will issue a complaint against the company.

The investigations stemmed from cases brought by ex-employees Ashley Gjovik and Cher Scarlett in 2021, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Scarlett's grievance against Apple was filed with the NLRB in September 2021 amid a wave of employee activism, over issues including working conditions and customer privacy. In a tweet that confirmed the filing, Scarlett said the allegations "revolve around unlawful conduct and unlawful rules that have been engaged in over the past 5 months, particularly over the last month."

Should the NLRB issue a complaint, it'll join a separate one filed against Apple in October of last year, when the government agency issued a complaint over allegations that Apple had suppressed unionization efforts. According to the October complaint, the tech giant allegedly discouraged unionization in part by telling employees that unionized stores "would not receive the same improvements to working conditions." 

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.