Apple Employees Increasingly Content to Criticize the Company Amid Switch Remote Working and Use of Slack

Some Apple staff feel more confident to speak about their employer amongst themselves, to the press, and on social media due to the company's switch to remote working and increased use of Slack over the past year, The Information reports.

apple park 416 security
Apple's Slack became a "virtual town square" at the company, providing a platform for employees to protest the return to in-person work, decisions to hire controversial new employees, and more. Until the transition to remote working last year due to the global health crisis, Apple's culture of secrecy limited the opportunities for grassroots employees to organize independently.

Apple employees are asked to sign multiple agreements vowing to not disclose information about their work, including to spouses and other colleagues at the company. When work was conducted in person before last year's changes, the interaction between different parts of the company was heavily limited, with physical access to other departments being restricted to those authorized to be there. A software engineer in Apple's global security team, Cher Scarlett, said:

Before Slack, it was difficult for employees to talk to somebody who works in retail unless you went to the store. It was impossible to talk to someone who works in hardware as I don't work with anyone there. You're giving people a platform that allows them to connect with people they wouldn't ordinarily connect with.

A former Apple procurement manager told The Information that Apple's internal employee directory was so difficult to navigate that it was virtually impossible to find out, for example, who was in charge of iPad marketing in Latin America.

In the fall of 2019, Apple allowed its various teams to start adopting Slack at their own pace. Until the global health crisis prompted the widespread adoption of Slack, the company preferred to use its own software at work, with some exceptions such as Cisco Jabber. Apple's own iMessage platform is reportedly heavily relied upon for internal communication.

There are now believed to be 3,000 internal Apple Slack channels with more than 10,000 members, which has made it considerably easier for employees to communicate with each other and unite around common goals. Last year, channels for a range of topics, including #announcements, #careers, #help-desk-support, #talk-investments, and #talk-trading, were created by employees. A number of channels also center on different religious communities among Apple employees.

The popular channels #remote-work-advocacy and #talk-benefits center on advocacy and are said to contain more than 7,000 members and led employees' push to continue working remotely earlier this year. The channel #women-in-swe contains more than 2,000 female software engineers and advocated the firing of an allegedly misogynistic new employee last year. One former employee said:

People are fully remote now, so what was previously water-cooler chat has become much more candid because the digital environment feels safer and less personalized.

The move toward being more outspoken about the company has also spilled over to social media, with an Apple engineering program manager posting accusations of sexism, discrimination, and other inappropriate behavior on Twitter, even sharing partially redacted internal Apple emails and Slack messages about her case.

In addition, another employee posted a photo of Apple's medical release form on Twitter that asked employees to release their healthcare information to the company as a proviso for the approval of medical leave and remote work. Other posts accused Apple's human resources department of shutting down surveys about pay transparency.

"Slack and social media have been absolutely the biggest catalyst in giving workers the ability to organize," Scarlett said. She added that she feels comfortable speaking on the record to the media about these issues without Apple's approval since "a nondisparagement clause doesn't mean you can't say anything bad about the company. You can openly talk about discrimination."

Apple employees are now said to have started a Discord server to discuss company issues, which has a waiting list of more than 200 applicants, and 15 employees launched a website around the hashtag #AppleToo to collect testimonials about discrimination or harassment at the company.

Top Rated Comments

cateye Avatar
5 weeks ago

No one is forced to work at Apple. Don't like it, leave. All these complaints are just so stupid. Thousands of people would like to work at Apple almost for free.
Not really. Apple competes for the same talent as everyone else.

Try working for any company or organization that has cultural cache, or is especially important or revered among a certain audience. I have. (Not Apple, but a company that at one point had Apple-like extreme fans, sites like MacRumors devoted to it, etc.) You'll find that it's "just a job" on the inside. Absolutely, there are people that seek out working for Apple (or Google, or Microsoft, or any one of the millions of tech companies you've never heard of) in order to flex their talents in a specific area, because that company offers an opportunity they're interested in. But fandom, especially the creepy sort of boy band-style reverence that Apple engenders, is not really how people, especially people who are highly sought after like experienced software engineers, approach a career.

It's all just a job, and Apple is just one company among many.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cateye Avatar
5 weeks ago

Ummm, there are many instances where companies act poorly. The solution is not to have employees leave, it is to have the companies improve. "You can always leave" means less choice for employees.
This. Working for any company is an unspoken social contract: You provide the workplace, I provide the work. If you don't like my work, you will complain. If I don't like your workplace, I will complain. If either crosses a threshold of tolerability, you may fire me, or I may quit.

Neither side should somehow pretend this agreement doesn't exist.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thadoggfather Avatar
5 weeks ago

Pathetic to see so many people on these forums in support of a multi-billion dollar corporation over their fellow man who just want a better company culture and better working conditions. You are the same people who hate that apple will start scanning your photos....yet you defend the corporation over fellow human beings with actual lives and who want privacy. Some of you need to really take a look in the mirror and re-define your priorities. You are no different then someone who hates the removal of a feature like a headphone jack, yet then turns around and buys the latest product supporting the companies decision with your hard earned money.
I have never in my life seen such staunch emotional defenses for the company of mass manufactured products, not even the products themselves people hunkered down a lot of cash for.

People should look themselves in the mirror and wonder what they've become, and how they've gotten there. imo.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shasterball Avatar
5 weeks ago

No one is forced to work at Apple. Don't like it, leave. All these complaints are just so stupid. Thousands of people would like to work at Apple almost for free.
Ummm, there are many instances where companies act poorly. The solution is not to have employees leave, it is to have the companies improve. "You can always leave" means less choice for employees.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThunderSkunk Avatar
5 weeks ago
I started and ran a mfg company with max cult status, and every day dealt with the kind of weirdos that offered to work for ”free” just to be attached to something they thought was cool. I made the mistake of indulging that one time, before our investor stepped in and talked some sense into me. No, you can’t run a company effectively staffing it with sycophants in it for their own personal fame & glory. I replaced our fanboy shipping manager with a nice old lady who was very good at showing up on time and being an employee.

And when your employees have concerns, a manager that ignores them or tells them “shut up and get back to work” is a #$&* idiot and deserves to lose them.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Derekuda Avatar
5 weeks ago
Pathetic to see so many people on these forums in support of a multi-billion dollar corporation over their fellow man who just want a better company culture and better working conditions. You are the same people who hate that apple will start scanning your photos....yet you defend the corporation over fellow human beings with actual lives and who want privacy. Some of you need to really take a look in the mirror and re-define your priorities. You are no different then someone who hates the removal of a feature like a headphone jack, yet then turns around and buys the latest product supporting the companies decision with your hard earned money.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple park 416 security

Apple Expands Efforts to Vaccinate Employees, But Doesn't Mandate Vaccines

Friday August 27, 2021 12:52 pm PDT by
Apple is further pushing its employees in the United States to get vaccinated now that the Food and Drug Administration has officially approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, reports Bloomberg. Apple has launched a new internal web page, sent out an employee memo, and is holding internal talks as part of its vaccination campaign."Apple is asking everyone who has access to the vaccine and is...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Employees Continue to Fight Return to Campuses and Push for Better Remote Working Options

Monday July 19, 2021 11:09 am PDT by
Apple has made it clear that most of its employees will not be able to work remotely on a permanent basis, but that isn't stopping some corporate staff from continuing to push for more relaxed remote working rules, reports Recode. In a new petition that went out this week, employees are asking Apple to allow employees to work from home on a more permanent basis. Apple has agreed to a hybrid...
apple park 416 security

Apple Asks All U.S. Employees to Share Vaccination Status, Still No Mandate

Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:23 am PDT by
Apple this week began asking all of its employees in the United States to provide details on their vaccination status, reports Bloomberg. Employees have been asked to voluntarily share whether they have been vaccinated by mid-September, and this applies to both employees working in an office and those working remotely. In a memo, Apple said that its focus is keeping "team members, their...
apple store palo alto

Apple Giving Retail Employees Up to a $1,000 One-Time Bonus

Wednesday September 22, 2021 1:14 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to give its Apple Store employees one-time bonuses amounting to up to $1,000, reports Bloomberg. The bonuses will be provided to employees who have been working during the ongoing global health crisis. Retail employees who were hired before March 31, 2021 will be given $1,000, and employees who joined after that date will be given $500. Employees hired for the holiday...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Executive Addresses Recent Employee Concerns in Internal Video

Monday September 6, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
In a video broadcasted to staffers days before Labor Day, Apple's retail and people chief Deirdre O'Brien addressed the growing number of Apple employees voicing their opinions about workplace issues like pay inequality. For those unaware, over the last few weeks, some Apple employees have taken to Twitter to share their workplace frustrations, sparking the "AppleToo" movement. Created by a...
apple store palo alto

Apple to Require COVID Testing for Employees Starting Next Month, Still No Vaccine Mandate

Friday September 17, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Starting next month, Apple is ramping up COVID-19 testing requirements for employees. According to The Verge's Zoe Schiffer, unvaccinated employees will be required to get frequent COVID-19 tests, while vaccinated employees will receive infrequent tests if going into an office or store. Unlike other tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, Apple has not mandated vaccines for its...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Considering Vaccination Requirement for Employees Returning to Offices

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:57 am PDT by
Apple has not decided whether or not it will require vaccines for corporate employees that return to work this October, according to CNBC's Josh Lipton. Cook reportedly told Lipton that Apple is primarily focusing on when to have employees return, but the company is "monitoring things daily" to determine whether a vaccination requirement "is the right answer or not." .@tim_cook spoke w/ ...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Still Planning Return to In-Person Work in September, Despite Employee Complaints

Wednesday June 30, 2021 1:53 am PDT by
Apple is not backing down on its plan to return to three days of in-person work a week starting in September, despite employees complaining about the new change. Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook penned an internal letter to employees outlining the company's plan to return to in-person work three days a week in September. Apple, due to the global health crisis, has largely been working...
appleparkempty

Apple Staff Complain About Plans for Return to Office Work in Letter to Tim Cook

Saturday June 5, 2021 1:11 am PDT by
A large group of Apple employees are opposing the company's plans to require three days of in-person work a week from September, according to a internal letter seen by The Verge. In the detailed letter sent yesterday afternoon, addressed to CEO Tim Cook and the company's executive leadership, the Apple employees said that they want a more flexible approach where those who want to work...
appleparkempty

Apple Delays Return to Office for Employees Until At Least January

Friday August 20, 2021 12:21 am PDT by
Apple has delayed its plan to return employees back to the office until at least January, due to concerns over an increase in COVID-19 cases and the possible emergence of new variants, Bloomberg reports. Apple had previously planned to return to in-person work by early September, but the company delayed that timeline until October. Now, due to continued concerns, that timeframe has been...