Apple Reportedly Accused of Illegally Using NDAs against Workers, Lying to the SEC

Apple Reportedly Accused of Illegally Using NDAs against Workers, Lying to the SEC

A report claims that Apple has repeatedly used non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to silence voices of dissent among its staff. Further, the company allegedly lied to its investors and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about it. This could be wrongful or illegal in some cases.

Under the #AppleToo initiative, the Cupertino giant’s employees have banded together to identify discrimination and harassment. A survey conducted by Apple employees revealed that female workers were paid less than their male counterparts. Apple’s response was to outright ban such surveys. Last year, the group also uncovered approximately 500 reports of various forms of harassment and bullying going unchecked at Apple. The complaints were investigated by the US Labor Board.

The Washington Post reports that Pinterest whistleblower Ifeoma Ozoma directly accuses Apple of lying to the SEC. The whistleblower has been a vocal advocate of employee protections against NDAs and claims that Apple should be fined for “using a formal process to lie to a federal agency.” The report also states that eight state treasurers have penned a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler to draw attention to the wrongful use of NDAs.

Termed “concealment clauses” in employment and post-employment agreements, the NDAs Apple uses allegedly pertain to discrimination, harassment, and criminal activities. The treasurers also urge the SEC to investigate Apple’s earlier statements to the agency about the use of concealment clauses in agreements with employees. They are hopeful the SEC will uncover Apple’s attempts to mislead and try “to preserve the integrity of the shareholder proposal process.”

The report also explained a possible motive for using NDA’s in agreements with staffers and then lying about it to a federal agency. Apple has repeatedly claimed it does not use concealment clauses so that the SEC grants the company No-Action letters when required. As the name suggests, such letters grant the iPhone maker immunity from enforcement action of any kind, a the behest of the market regulator. This could work in favor of Apple when employees call it out for harassment, workplace issues, and pay disparity.

In case you aren’t aware, the state of California has banned using NDAs in matters related to discrimination against employees. Seven other states in the US have urged the SEC to protect employees with similar laws across the country. Do you think the SEC will revisit Apple’s claims and consider the allegations leveled against the company? How would Apple defend itself? Share your thoughts on the possibilities in the comments.

[Via The Washington Post] .adslot_1 { width: 300px; height: 250px; } @media (min-width:340px) { .adslot_1 { width: 336px; height: 280px; } } <!– Like this post? Share it! –> <!–

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