Apple has blocked an internal employee effort to create a Slack channel to discuss issues of pay inequity.
“Slack channels are provided to conduct Apple business and must advance the work, deliverables, or mission of Apple departments and teams,” the employee relations representative told employees.
The company’s rules for the in-office chat app say that “Slack channels for activities and hobbies not recognized as Apple Employee clubs or Diversity Network Associations (DNAs) aren’t permitted and shouldn’t be created.”
The Verge reports, however, that Apple appears to allow a number of non-work channels in Slack, including channels about dogs, cats, gaming, and dad jokes.
Employment attorney Vincent P. White speculated that Apple is using the Slack Use of Terms as a way to shield itself legally, as employees are protected by law to discuss pay equity issues.
“Discussing pay equity is a protected activity under federal, state, and local law,” says White. “Everyone agrees on that. For them to try and impair employees’ ability to discuss pay equity and diversity in the workplace is a clear cut act of retaliation.”
Internal issues at the company have become more public as of late, a rare occurrence for the company in comparison to other major technology companies like Facebook and Google. The #AppleToo movement, a group of Apple employees who are pushing for change in a number of areas at the company, said it had already collected over 500 stories of workplace abuse at the company from current and former employees. The group began sharing the stories of some employees this week.