Apple Makes Historic Move By Removing Employee Gag Orders for Talking About Harassment, Discrimination
Apple has been facing mounting pressure from shareholders and activists to remove "concealment clauses" for employees.
In a major step for worker's rights, Apple has announced that it will no longer keep gag orders in place that forbid employees from speaking about workplace harassment.
In a new memo titled "Our Commitment to an Open and Collaborative Workplace," the company addresses mounting pressures from shareholders and activists that called for Apple to assess "the potential risks to the company associated with its use of concealment clauses in the context of harassment, discrimination and other unlawful acts."
The report specifically referred to Apple's usage of "concealment clauses," which are essentially gag orders put in place (think non-disclosure, post-employment agreements) forbidding employees from talking about any negative treatment they may have experienced or witnessed while working for the company, namely harassment and discrimination.
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"You are permitted to speak freely about your wages, hours, and working conditions, including information about harassment, discrimination, or any other conduct you have reason to believe is unlawful, and nothing in this Policy, or any Apple policy, should be interpreted as being restrictive of your right to do so," Apple's updated Business Conduct Policy states. This is inclusive for both full-time and contracted workers.
Activist groups like Apple Together have been pushing for more transparency and change between executives and employees, from calling for more flexibility in employees' in-office work requirements to calling out sexism and discrimination in the workplace, all anonymously.
"This is a BIG deal," the official Twitter account for Apple Together wrote upon the lift of the clauses.
Apple Together grew as a part of the larger #AppleToo movement among employees that encouraged workers in both corporate and retail to speak up about internal issues around the globe.
"Apple's Board intends to remain engaged in the company's efforts to foster a culture where everybody belongs, and a workplace where everyone is treated with dignity and respect," Apple maintained. "And people across Apple are continuing their work to drive inclusion and diversity by engaging team members on their experiences, offering ongoing training and education, and supporting an environment where everyone's voices are heard."
Apple was down around 17% in a one-year period as of Tuesday afternoon.