Apple is facing serious pushback from employees on the company’s overall culture of swiping issues under the rug. Slack became the aggrieved employees’ platform to discuss hybrid remote work policy, pay equity, discrimination, and other concerns which have become very public. So, to contain the company’s privacy and crush dissident voices, Apple has banned Slack channels that discuss non-work-related topics because they violate the company’s policy.
However, the Verge reports that multiple non-work-related Slack channels are live with a large membership like #fun-dogs with more than five thousand members, #dad-jokes with more than two thousand members, and #gaming with more than three thousand members. And recently a #community-foosball Slack channel was approved. As per the company’s rules:
“Slack channels are provided to conduct Apple business and must advance the work, deliverables, or mission of Apple departments and teams.
Slack channels for activities and hobbies not recognized as Apple Employee clubs or Diversity Network Associations (DNAs) aren’t permitted and shouldn’t be created.”
Apple intentionally bars employees from discussing pay equity
The last survey on pay equity found that up to 6% gender pay gap exists at the company. Apple claims that it does not have a pay equity issue but in the past few months, the company has shut down three internal surveys, conducted by employees.
The HR team told the employees that surveys consisting of personally identifiable information are prohibited.
The following employee surveys are prohibited in all cases and may not be conducted.
Surveys as Data Collection
Surveys are not permitted to be used as a means of collecting identifiable employee data without following the usual process to obtain this data from the People team. This includes any questions about an employee’s address, demographics, and so on, except for collecting country or region, which is permitted.
Using surveys as a tool to collect health information — including but not limited to health reports, testing results, and vaccination status — is also prohibited.
All requests for identifiable employee data must be submitted to the People team via the People Report Request Form. If approved, the People team will provide the employee data directly from their systems.
Surveys Requesting Diversity Data
Diversity data is highly sensitive personal data. If you have a need for such information, you must work with your I&D Business Partner and the I&D Insights and Solutions team before collecting any data.
Pay equity survey included the employees’ name and salary which is personally identifiable information, whereas, social interests can not be considered such. But is it justifiable for Apple not to address the growing discontent with pay equity and give disgruntled employees a satisfactory answer? This heavy-hand response from the company has created the #AppleToo movement which shares stories of workplace discrimination and harassment, racism, and other issues.
Employment attorney Vincent P. White told The Verge:
Invoking the Slack terms may simply be an excuse to block discussions of workplace pay disparities since doing so outright would violate labor law. “Discussing pay equity is a protected activity under federal, state, and local law,” says White. “Everyone agrees on that. For them to try and impair employees’ ability to discuss pay equity and diversity in the workplace is a clear cut act of retaliation.”