Apple Affirms Employees’ Right To Speak About Working Conditions

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The AppleToo Movement is a grassroots advocacy group that started in 2018 and is focused on advocating for better working conditions at Apple. It all started when a former employee wrote a proposal asking the company to address issues of gender-based harassment and discrimination in its job reviews, which he claimed were biased against women. This sparked off a series of protests and demands for an end to the gendered policies that some say are rampant in Silicon Valley’s tech companies.

The AppleToo Movement has been gathering support since then, including from employees (current and former), shareholders, investors, journalists and other advocates from around the world. The movement has gained traction due to several high-profile resignations from executives who felt their voices were not being heard within the organisation.

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Recently, in April 2021, Apple publicly addressed its workforce on International Workers’ Day with an affirmation of employees’ rights to speak up about working conditions without fear of retribution or harassment. This was seen as an unprecedented step by many who believe it will encourage transparency within the organization and foster a healthier work culture going forward.

Apple affirms employees’ right to speak about working conditions, in a win for #AppleToo movement

Apple has affirmed their employees’ right to speak about working conditions, in a win for the #AppleToo movement.

This movement was started to advocate for better working conditions for Apple’s contractors, particularly in Asia, who have long suffered from poor working conditions. By affirming their commitment to these workers, Apple has shown that they are taking a stand to ensure all workers are treated fairly and with respect.

Apple’s Statement on Employee Rights

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On May 18, 2021 Apple released an official statement affirming their commitment to workers’ rights. The statement came as a response to the recent #AppleToo movement, which raised awareness of the lack of voice enjoyed by many employees in the technology industry. The announcement echoed sentiments promoted by the movement and promised more resources and support for employees.

The statement by Apple noted that “we deeply believe that everyone should have a safe, respectful workplace where they’re empowered to do their very best work”. It affirmed Apple’s commitment to supporting open dialogue regarding working conditions and promised employees access to unbiased resources when needed. Additionally, it highlighted the maintenance of a strict code of conduct; a zero-tolerance policy for any behavior or discrimination that would violate this code; and avenues for resolution if it is breached or unmet.

In reaffirming the rights of its employees, Apple has created an opportunity for those in the technology industry (and beyond) to continue action against these areas for change. This is important not only for Apple itself but also as a public display of their ongoing commitment to responsibility when handling issues inside and outside their organization.

Apple’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Apple has long been committed to fostering an inclusive workplace, and has placed a priority on creating an environment of openness, respect and support. Apple believes that everyone should be able to express their opinion in a safe, respectful and constructive manner. Every employee of the company should feel empowered to speak up about any issues they experience in the workplace.

Apple also understands that individual experiences vary within different areas and cultures, which is why it strives to ensure each employee is treated fairly in accordance with its strong code of conduct. Apple takes pride in being one of the most diverse companies in the world with teams from different backgrounds, languages and life experiences collaborating together to bring innovative products to market for its customers.

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In addition to Apple’s values around diversity and inclusion, it actively supports employees by continually implementing better hiring practices; advocating for gender equality; providing flexible paid leave policies; offering comprehensive health coverage including mental health services; offering intimate partner violence protection benefits; investing in underrepresented communities through existing programs like Apple College Connector and future initiatives such as Propel—its Entrepreneur Camp led by Black developers—and supporting local historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Apple understands that transparency lies at the center of any successful effort towards creating a more equitable workplace. As such, it recently released a Supplier Code of Conduct which outlines expectations around matters such as fair compensation practices, freedom from discrimination or harassment, sustainable working hours management and prohibition against child labor or coerced labor. This provides employees with greater clarity on expectations around working conditions at any level within its supply chain. Ultimately this serves as another example of how Apple remains committed to safeguarding the rights and safety of all workers wherever its products are made.


Apple’s decision to affirm employees’ right to speak out about their working conditions is a momentous win for the #AppleToo movement. This shift in policy comes as a response to numerous public accusations of harassment, discrimination, and unjust treatment at the company.

What will be the effects of this change in policy? We explore that in the following section.

Impact on Apple Employees

The statement from Apple affirming their employees’ right to speak up about working conditions is an important step forward for the #AppleToo movement. Employee advocacy organizations have been calling for this change for years, highlighting the importance of transparency in order to ensure a safe and quality workplace.

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For many current and former Apple employees, this change is a cause of cautious optimism. A fully transparent system could help protect them from any form of adverse treatment at work or bring any meaningful grievances they may have against their managers or workplace into higher visibility. Additionally, updated policies surrounding speaking out or whistleblowing can grant Apple employees greater confidence in voicing their opinions without fear of repercussion.

Finally, this critical move can be seen as Apple taking responsibility for creating proper channels for employee satisfaction and job fulfillment. It indicates that they are ready to value the input of all members on staff — especially those most marginalized — and take proactive steps toward making sure commitments to fair working conditions is upheld across all levels of hierarchy in the company’s structures.

Impact on the Tech Industry

The decision by Apple to affirm their employees’ right to speak about working conditions marks an important moment for the tech industry. The #AppleToo movement began in 2020 as an effort to address sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace, but it resonated widely because of the unique power dynamics between corporate giants like Apple and their widely dispersed workers.

For years, big tech companies have asserted their right to protect trade secrets and limit public discourse about internal operations — a dynamic which has been challenged by observers who point out that such policies can be used to silence workers seeking greater accountability or fairness, particularly among lower-level staffers with far less legal and bargaining power than their employers. Generally speaking, employee “non-disparagement” clauses have been engaged when companies fear negative press or customer backlash could arise from complaints made publically by employees—rather than as a means of protecting trade secrets or intellectual property.

Apple’s decision is notable not only because it provides an example of progressive leadership, but also because its influence may encourage other top technology companies to reexamine similar policies within their own organizations. As an industry leader with massive job supply and buying power, Apple could very well set a new tone in the tech world—one that values its workers enough to give them the agency and protection then need if they wish​to speak publicly about working conditions without fear of retaliation.

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