The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has agreed that an AAPL shareholders proposal requiring Apple to explain how it uses non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can proceed, Reuters reported. The company had appealed to stop the proposal from progressing, but will now face a vote on the matter at its 2022 annual shareholder meeting.
AAPL Shareholders to Push For NDA Details
The proposal was put forward by AAPL investor Nia Impact Capital. It said that Apple’s board should prepare a “public report assessing the potential risks to the company associated with its use of concealment clauses in the context of harassment, discrimination and other unlawful acts.”
Apple itself says it does not use concealment causes. In October, it filed a response with the SEC, arguing the proposal should be excluded because “the company’s policy is to not use such clauses.” The regulator has now declared that Apple had not “substantially implemented the proposal.”
Former employees Cher Scarlett and Ashley Gjovik have both filed with the SEC, alleging the company made false statements. Ms. Gjovik’s filing, dated October 26, 2021, said:
The statements made by Apple Inc. to response to the Shareholder Resolution introduced by Nia Impact Capital includes false & misleading statements of material importance.
Apple had not commented publicly on the latest SEC letter at the time of this writing. It previously said that it does not discuss specific employee matters and is “deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace.” Appealing shareholder proposals is not an unusual move from a large company. The SEC reportedly grants around half of such requests.
AAPL Shareholders Owed Transparency, Says Former Employee
On Thursday, Ms. Gjovik told The Mac Observer:
At the very least, Apple owes it to its shareholders, employees, the government, and the public to provide transparency into its labor practices and legal compliance. The only reason I can think why Apple is so avoidant about sharing its policies, or even allowing its shareholders to vote to request to understand its policies, is because Apple has something to hide. No matter where readers stand with recent Apple labor news, I think we can all agree that Apple should allow its shareholders to vote to request a simple risk assessment. Apple’s attempt to censor its own shareholders about an inquiry as to whether Apple’s censors its employees is telling.
The Mac Observer asked Apple for comment but had not received a response at the time of this writing.
The is the second major move from AAPL shareholders in recent days. Investors have also asked that the company complete a civil rights audit.