Tim CookSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Shareholders want Apple to conduct a civil rights audit.
  • That's because of recent employee controversies and a lack of diversity.

A group of Apple shareholders wants the company to hold a civil rights audit over a lack of diversity at the company and a string of recent employee controversies.

As reported by MarketWatch:

Apple Inc. has declared its commitment to racial and gender equity, but it is now facing a shareholder call for a civil-rights audit amid employee controversies and slow progress in diversifying its workforce.

The first-of-its-kind proposal for Apple AAPL, +1.91% comes on the heels of recent news that the tech giant is being investigated by the U.S. Labor Department for alleged harassment of and retaliation against an employee who raised concerns about workplace safety, as well as other formal complaints from former employees. It is one of several governance- and sustainability-related proposals the company's investors are expected to face at its annual general meeting in 2022.

The proposals reportedly reference claims Apple shut down internal employee-run pay surveys and the controversial hiring of Antonio García Martínez. The report continues:

SOC Investment Group teamed up with the Service Employees International Union and Trillium Asset Management on the proposal; the group filed their proposal in the fall but only recently found out it will actually be on the proxy. The SEIU's pension fund's holdings include Apple, while SOC owns 21.9 million shares of the company and Trillium said it owned more than 1 million shares of Apple as of the end of the third quarter.

The news comes on the same day it emerged that the SEC has blocked Apple's bid to stop a shareholder vote on a proposal that would see the company report on its use of non-disclosure agreements and concealment clauses, which shareholders say stop employees speaking out on issues like harassment and discrimination.

Apple's next shareholders' meeting will take place early next year.