Former Apple employee alleges a Tim Cook email saying leakers ‘do not belong’ at the company violates worker-protection laws


A cloudy sky behind a brightly lit Apple logo in a Manhattan store

An Apple Store in Manhattan. Mike Segar/Reuters

  • Former Apple employee Ashley Gjovik filed new complaints against the tech giant Tuesday.

  • She alleges that Apple’s anti-leak stance and strict employee handbook violates US labor laws.

  • Last month, Tim Cook reportedly wrote “people who leak confidential information do not belong here,” in an email to staff.

Last month, Ashley Gjovik was fired from her senior program manager position at Apple. Now, she’s just completed midterms during her final year of law school.

As she studied for her labor law exam, Gjovik told Insider that she noticed the “unlawful examples” mentioned in her textbook were “nearly identical to terms in Apple’s employee policies.”

Gjovik said that led her to file complaints with the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday in which she alleges that Apple’s anti-leaking stance and strict employee handbook violates US labor laws.

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The first complaint references an email CEO Tim Cook reportedly sent to staff last month. In it, he wrote that “people who leak confidential information do not belong here,” the filing says. One day later, the email was leaked to The Verge.

“I want to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to identify those who leaked,” Cook reportedly wrote. “As you know, we do not tolerate disclosures of confidential information, whether it’s product IP or the details of a confidential meeting.”

Gjovik emphasized that while there are IP laws protecting a company’s confidential product information, limiting discussion about employee meetings potentially prevents workers from communicating about workplace concerns, a right protected by the NLRB.

The filings, which were obtained by Insider, also allege that several rules outlined in Apple’s employee handbook break US labor laws. The guidelines listed in the complaint restrict Apple employees from speaking with reporters, revealing co-workers’ compensation, and using “vulgar” language on social media.

“This seems like one of the most fundamental changes that need to happen to enable workplace and employee organizing at Apple,” Gjovik said. “If people are terrified that they can’t talk to each other about work conditions or talk to a labor lawyer about work conditions – a union couldn’t even begin to organize.”

Read the original article on Business Insider



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