Tim CookSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Former Apple employee Cher Scarlett is no longer withdrawing a labor agency complaint she made about the company.
  • An agreement to withdraw the complaint was made last month, with Scarlett leaving the company and receiving a year's salary.
  • Scarlett believes that Apple hasn't kept its side of the bargain with regard to allowing employees to openly discuss their salaries.

Former Apple employee and organizer Cher Scarlett is no longer withdrawing her National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint against the company, according to a new report. Apple had requested that she would do so when the pair agreed on a settlement last month.

While Scarlett had agreed to put an end to proceedings, she now says that isn't going to happen because Apple hasn't kept to its side of the bargain. Specifically, Apple was supposed to make it clear both internally and publicly that employees could discuss their income with one another. According to a Forbes report, that either hasn't happened or was done in such a way that it was essentially useless.

"One of the requests I made was for there to be a very public, visible affirmation that employees are allowed to discuss their workplace conditions and compensation, both internally and externally," Scarlett said in a phone interview on Thursday. Apple did publish language on its internal human resources page acknowledging employees' rights to discuss pay, but it was posted on November 19, the Friday before the company's annual Thanksgiving vacation. "It was only up for a week that they gave everybody in the company off," Scarlett says. Further, it was removed by the following Monday when most people were back at work.

Apple also reportedly refused to make 22 changes to the settlement document, changes that were requested by the NLRB. One of those changes was to allow Scarlett to help people who are "being wronged."

In one paragraph of the settlement document, Apple requested that Scarlett "not solicit, encourage or incite anyone to file any charge or complaint with any administrative agency or Court against Apple," for one year following the execution of the settlement. The NLRB requested that Apple strike "encourage or incite" from that paragraph.

The settlement language "was suppressive of my rights to help other employees organize, help them file charges if they've been wronged or witnessed unlawful activity," Scarlett says.

Scarlett became a prominent figure in the world of Apple labor after helping set up the #AppleToo movement after Apple blocked people from discussing their salaries. That began something of a groundswell of support for Apple employees alongside a growing number of people reporting their poor experiences with Apple, its human resources department, and the way it handles pay.

While little of this appears to be hampering sales, Apple has had to launch flagship products including iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 against a growing backdrop of worker unrest of late.