Apple stops employees’ salary surveys – can break the law

For the second time in a week, Apple has ended up in the hot air. This time it is about labor law and union organizing.

The Verge reports that employees in the spring and summer have several times started surveys to anonymously collect wage statistics. The purpose is to see if the company’s claims about equal pay for equal work are true or if there are hidden wage differences. But “People”, Apple’s human resources department, has forced employees to cancel and remove the surveys.

Labor lawyer Vincent White tells The Verge that Apple’s actions “are like when a foreman on the loading dock told people they were not allowed to discuss their salaries in the 19th century”.

Apple has sent an email to all employees to clarify what types of surveys are not allowed, and it is about data that may constitute personal information such as gender and gender identity, ethnicity and address.

Grace Reckers of the Office and Professional Employees International Union says that surveys are protected by US labor law and that the fact that the answers are voluntary means that Apple’s explanation that it is about personal data does not hold.

In the UK, Apple is forced to share data on pay gaps. In 2018, men had a 12 percent higher salary than women on average in the country (among all companies, the average was 17 percent).

An employee has now started a new investigation with an external tool, so that Apple’s human resources department can not force it out. According to The Verge, it already has over 500 responses.