Apple Bans Felons from Space Ship Campus Construction

It seems Apple's new space ship campus in Cupertino is a felony-free zone. Several construction workers with felony convictions were ordered off the construction site in January because their history didn't meet company standards.

Felony convictions cost construction workers jobs at Apple campus siteFelony convictions cost construction workers jobs at Apple campus site

News of the now out of work construction crew came courtesy of Iron Workers Local Union 377 and site workers speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle. DPR, the company overseeing the construction project, sent the workers packing because being a charged or convicted felon "does not meet owner standards."

Translation: Apple says no one with a felony conviction, or anyone who has been charged with a felony, can work on the construction site.

Construction jobs often attract people with criminal histories because it's uncommon for employers to perform background checks. As such, the field gives people who would otherwise get pushed back into crime a way to make a living while staying out of jail. Considering the fired workers were pouring foundations for the new building, it seems unlikely their criminal histories would have any impact on the company, or their ability to do their jobs.

Michael Theriault, president of Local 377, said, "Apple's prohibition against employment of former felons or those with a pending felony charge does not just fail to address inequality, then, but amplifies it."

The union has been talking with DPR, but so far there hasn't been any policy changes. Letters of complaint have also been sent to California state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The news comes at an awkward time for Apple because Mr. Cook recently criticized Indiana for its law that lets businesses refuse service to anyone under the guise of religious freedom. Mr. Cook called the law a pro-discrimination move, and urged lawmakers to reverse their decision.

In this case, it looks like Apple is practicing its own form of discrimination, although it's possible there's a missing piece of information Apple has chosen not to share. The company may have an unwavering policy against felons on its payroll, or on staff with contractors. It's also possible DPR is applying an overly broad interpretation to an Apple policy that may not be appropriate in this case. Unfortunately, we won't know what's really happening until Apple or DPR choses to speak openly about their employment policies for the construction workers building the new company campus.