Apple Bans Internal Slack Channel of Workers

Posted by Nailah Herbert in CareerSeptember 5, 2021(Last Updated December 20, 2022)3 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Apple has been at the center of media attention due to prohibiting employees from discussing pay equity on its Slack channel.
  • A group of employees created a website called AppleToo as a place for Apple employees to openly discuss their experiences regarding pay, harassment, and discrimination.
  • Apple has come forward and stated that they want to discuss and fix the issues that their employees have experienced. 
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Apple employees set up an internal Slack channel to discuss pay equity. However, according to The Verge, Apple banned the Slack channel because the channel didn’t “advance the work, deliverables, or mission of Apple departments and teams.”


As news broke of the ban, Apple received public criticism for shutting down the channel. Although they claimed the Slack channel discussing pay equity did not align with their mission, the company has allowed channels that discuss random topics ranging from dad jokes, gaming, and community football.


apple employees

Editorial credit: miker /

Apple employees set up an internal Slack channel to discuss pay equity.


After Apple's block of the Slack channel on pay equity, frustrated employees created a website called AppleToo, solely dedicated to speaking out about pay equity, harassment, and discrimination.


A History of Issues Between Apple and Its Employees


In 2016, the issue of pay inequality arose when Apple CEO, Tim Cook, shared with its investors that female employees made 99.6 cents for every dollar a male worker made. He also shared that minority employees earned 99.7 cents for every dollar a white worker made. However, the statements on pay by Tim Cook did not sit well with Apple's employees. As a result, they created two surveys to gain further clarity and transparency. 


Unfortunately, Apple's Human Resources team had to nix those surveys because they exposed employees' personal information. But, Apple engineer Cher Scarlett started another survey to document if everyone was being paid fairly, regardless of gender or race.


Although a few years have passed since Tim Cook shared his thoughts about how fairly his employees were being paid, the conversation of pay equity is re-emerging. As a result, some employees of Apple decided to create a Slack channel to communicate with each other about pay inequality. 


slack app store

Editorial credit: Postmodern Studio /

Slack is a business communication platform for teams to communicate faster and easier.


Once Apple caught drift of this channel, they immediately shut it down and stated that it violated their terms and conditions because it did not improve work. However, other internal Slack channels that do not focus on work have been approved by Apple. Apple's conflicting way of enforcing its terms and conditions related to Slack led to employees voicing their concerns through other channels not affiliated with Apple. Furthermore, Apple banned internal surveys regarding pay between employees in an effort to control the issue from expanding. 


Once the employees were told they could not discuss the gender wage gap on Apple's business channels or through surveys, some decided to build their own website, called AppleToo, to encourage other employees to come forward and share their stories. Since Apple had no power over the employee's website, employees were anxious to know if their pay was based on gender or other factors.


Since employees have come forward on the AppleToo website, it has been revealed that Apple's pay equity practices are not the same as once stated by Tim Cook. Instead, the surveys done by Apple employees determined that there is a six percent wage gap.


Stories Shared By Apple Employees


Since employees created a website that allows them to voice their opinions, stories exposing Apple's poor work environment have been made public. For example, one of the stories released detailed how a female worker was being harassed by her male boss. Another story released was about how a black male employee in the UK experienced racism and brought up this issue to his manager. Yet, his work manager did not do anything to rectify the situation. 


With the spotlight on Apple and its failure to provide adequate working conditions, more employees are expected to come forward and share their stories.


Next Steps to Resolve the Issue


As a result of the website AppleToo and many outlets picking up the news regarding employee complaints, Apple has released a statement saying they take employee complaints seriously and want to resolve them.


The Slack channel controversy around pay equity is not the first time Apple has been caught in the middle of the crossfire regarding employee issues. Previously, they had problems regarding their factory workers in China. Reportedly, Apple had employees work more than 100 hours of overtime per month, although labor laws in China allow up to 36 hours of overtime.


Recommended: The United States Senate shuts down the Paycheck Fairness Act that would require employers to pay all of their employees fairly.


Thumbnail and Main Image -: Editorial credit: ThewayIsee /

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Marcus J ( year ago

Very insightful

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