Apple’s relationship with employees is getting contentious over the company’s remote work policy. As the company has planned to return to offices in September, following a remote work hybrid model, some employees fear that decision might make them unemployed.
Apple announced that the employees at corporate offices around the world will be returning to offices with three days from office and two days remote work model. Although this hybrid model is rigid than the remote work policy of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, it is very flexible for a conservative company like Apple which did not employees were not allowed to take any work home, before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak except a few exceptions. But now even those are being denied. The Verge reports that;
While Apple historically discouraged employees from working from home, there were one-off exceptions to the rule, and some teams were more lenient than others. Now, employees say that even those exceptions are being denied. In a company Slack channel where employees advocate for remote work, roughly 10 people said they were resigning due to the hybrid work policy or knew others who’d been forced to quit. The Slack channel currently has more than 6,000 members.
Employees with disabilities fear unemployment as Apple moves to return to offices
On the company’s Slack channel, an employee on an Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation shared that she might be out of a job in September.
One employee said they were currently on an Americans with Disabilities Act accommodation that allowed them to work from home, but were told that accommodation would be denied when the company went back to the office. “I will be out of a job in September,” they wrote in Slack.
Apple typically gives employees 30 days to find a new job within the company if their current team denies a medical accommodation. But one worker said in Slack that there weren’t any open remote positions.
In addition, the company’s requirement for employees to share their medical history with Apple for permanent remote work approval and has made some employees uncomfortable. As per the report, “employees are discussing how to get Apple’s attention. Some suggested writing another letter to reiterate their concerns, while others have discussed talking to lawyers about possible legal action.”
Employees have already expressed their discontent with the new remote work policy. In June, over 2500 employees signed a letter to CEO Tim Cook and senior management stating that “the company’s executive team’s feelings contradict theirs directly which makes them feel dismissive and invalidating and there is a disconnect between how the executive team thinks about remote / location-flexible work and the lived experiences of many of Apple’s employees.”
And requesting for flexible policy, they wrote that “For many of us at Apple, we have succeeded not despite working from home, but in large part because of being able to work outside the office. The last year has felt like we have truly been able to do the best work of our lives for the first time, unconstrained by the challenges that daily commutes to offices and in-person co-located offices themselves inevitably impose; all while still being able to take better care of ourselves and the people around us.”