U.S. labor lawyers reportedly found that Apple Inc. executives ran afoul of labor law, after they made remarks and set rules that allegedly chilled efforts to organize.
Bloomberg News reported Monday that prosecutors with the National Labor Relations Board found that Apple
created measures that “tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees” from acting on their rights to organize. The NLRB also “found merit to a charge alleging statements and conduct by Apple — including high-level executives — also violated the National Labor Relations Act,” according to the report.
Neither Apple nor the labor board immediately responded to requests to confirm or comment.
The allegations reportedly stemmed from complaints made to the board in 2021 by former employee Ashley Gjovik, who was fired that year. Gjovik alleged the company fired her in retaliation for complaints related to health risks, according to Bloomberg. She said she was harassed and told not to discuss those concerns afterward.
Apple said Gjovik was violating the company’s policy surrounding the disclosure of confidential information.
Gjovik in 2021 accused Apple of illegal behavior after Chief Executive Tim Cook, in an email, promised to crack down on anyone who leaked confidential company information. She also pointed to company policies that she said kept staff from disclosing “business information,” Bloomberg reported.
The news was reported after Apple, following pressure from investors, said it would assess company efforts to comply with its human rights policy “as it relates to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights” by the end of the year. Other regulators have weighed in on allegations that the company has tried to control what employees said about their departures.
The action from the labor board follows efforts to unionize in some of Apple’s retail stores, amid a larger wave of union organizing last year.
Shares of Apple have declined 18% over the past 12 months, and finished 2% lower on Monday. The S&P 500 index
has fallen 11% over that time.