Apple has allegedly shut down a number of surveys regarding pay equity started by employees. Lawyers told The Verge this could be illegal.
“Apple cannot bar its employees from discussing pay equity as it relates to protected classes,” says Vincent P. White, a labor lawyer with White, Hilferty & Albanese. “If they were, they could tell people not to talk about pronouns. The logical outgrowth of that doesn’t even track. I view their effort to shut this down as an act of retaliation.” The first known survey began in the spring and asked people to volunteer salary information in addition to how they identify in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and disability. After about 100 responses, Apple’s people team — the company’s name for what is commonly called human resources — asked employees to take the survey down, saying the demographic questions constituted personally identifying information, or PII. Last week, employees tried to start another pay equity survey but were again told to take it down because it included a question on gender. When they created a new survey without the gender question, the Apple people team allegedly said it had to be shut down because it was hosted on the company’s corporate Box account.