Apple illegally subjected employees to “coercive” interviews and interfered with the distribution of union leaflets at a New York City Apple Store, a U.S. labor board judge ruled Tuesday.
The finding represents the first time that an administrative law judge at the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency, has ruled against Apple. But it is not the last word on the subject; Apple is free to appeal the ruling to the agency’s full board or to federal appeals court.
Apple had no comment on the ruling Wednesday.
Lauren Esposito, the judge in the case, found that an Apple Store supervisor at the World Trade Center location had improperly asked an employee about his discussions with other workers about wage levels and about the employee’s opinion of unionization efforts across the company. Such activities ran afoul of U.S. labor law that protects the right of workers to organize, the judge wrote.
Similarly, Esposito ruled that Apple managers had singled out union literature, which is legally permitted in non-working spaces such as break rooms, for removal and disposal that sometimes involved shredding pamphlets.
The ruling requires Apple to “cease and desist” from activities that the judge found to violate established labor protections and to post workplace notices in the company’s name acknowledging the court’s findings, informing employees of their labor rights and pledging that the company will honor them.
Apple faces four other labor complaints now pending before National Labor Relations Board judges. AP