For those who came in late, Gjøvik alleged Apple’s employee policies (including NDAs, a variety of policies posted on Apple’s intranet including about confidentiality and talking to the press, Apple’s Business Conduct policy, Apple’s surveillance policies, notices for departing employees, employment contract, and an email sent to staff from Tim Cook in 2021) coercively silence Apple employees and stop them from engaging in protected activity through over-broad and vague terms, and an implication of constant surveillance.
She said that these policies interfere with Apple employees’ exercise of their federally protected rights and now the US NLRB agreed.
Gjøvik said that this will be the first legal action taken against Apple by the US government about Apple’s employment processes at a national level.
“If Apple settles or loses at trial, would include remedies impacting all US employees. Remedies may include mandatory updates to Apple’s US employee policies, postings for all US employees noting Apple broke federal law by publishing unlawful employee policies, and other similar equitable actions,” she said.
To make matters worse for Apple, Gjøvik said she had told the US SEC of this development. SEC is a little interested in the outcome because she filed an SEC charge last year, when Apple failed to mention that it was subject to a federal investigation about its employee policies to shareholders.
Apple should have disclosed this investigation to shareholders and the SEC, but did not, and is now likely facing an imminent NLRB complaint for violating federal labour laws nation-wide, Gjøvik said.
Gjøvik said her complaint claiming that retaliated against her for protected conduct and in violation of three separate federal statutes: SOX, CERCLA (Superfunds), and OSHA was still ongoing. Initial merit was found when the cases were docketed in December 2021.
In 2021 the US Environmental Protection Agency required an onsite inspection of Gjøvik’s Apple office where they identified open safety concerns & have requested corrective actions. Apple was notified of the inspections a few days before and Gjøvik’s was suddenly placed on leave. Apple tried to insist that the EPA to sign an NDA that implied any safety issues the EPA found at her office during the inspection were “Apple Confidential.” The EPA told Jobs’ Mob to go forth and multiply. After the inspection Apple fired Gjøvik’s without explanation.
“Apple never disclosed the inspection or issues to me or in their position statement. I only learned of it through my own FOIA requests,” she said.
“I hope this NLRB decision helps other Apple employees who were fired in retaliation for protected activity, while Apple instead claimed they were fired for vague “policy violations.” I hope this decision encourages Apple to stop doing that. I hope these decisions inspire more workers to speak freely and organise. I hope more whistleblowers come forward. I hope we see more worker unions at Apple,” Gjøvik said.