Whistleblower casts doubt on Apple's claims that it doesn't silence employees

3 days ago 12

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Cher Scarlett, a central organizer of the #AppleToo movement, said Apple attempted to get her to sign a strict non-disclosure agreement after her departure from the company.

Scarlett was an early founder of the #AppleToo movement, which sought to bring light to alleged racism, sexism, inequality, and other issues at Apple. After reaching a settlement with Apple, Scarlett agreed to leave the company and drop a National Labor Relations Board complaint. The complaint is still on the books at this time.

Shortly after striking the deal, Apple lawyers attempted to get Scarlett to sign strict nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses as part of a separation agreement. Some of the language in the agreements outlined exactly what Apple wanted Scarlett to say about her departure: "After 18 months at Apple, I've decided it is time to move on and pursue other opportunities."

"In my mind, I should be able to say whatever I want as long as I'm not defaming Apple," she said.

The #AppleToo organizer declined to sign the gag order. However, Business Insider reports that it was fresh on her mind when the company made several statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission in October.

In response to a shareholder proposal expressing concern about the use of NDAs "in the context of harassment, discrimination, and other unlawful acts," Apple told the SEC that it doesn't use such clauses.

However, Scarlett filed a whistleblower complaint on Oct. 25 calling Apple's statements to the SEC "false statements or misleading." She cited her own experience receiving NDAs from Apple, and included a copy of the settlement agreement with her whistleblower complaint.

Apple is in the midst of controversy surrounding employees organizing. While the notoriously secretive company condemned recent leaks to the press, Apple earlier in November issued a memo that affirmed employees' rights to openly discuss pay and workplace conditions.

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