🗞️ Apple's TikTok Dilemma, DOJ's Trump Problem, & Chipotle's Extra Large Settlement
This Week: Apple dances around its TikTok policy, Trump drags the DOJ into uncharted territory, and Chipotle tries to dodge a bullet. Plus, US Women's soccer scores a win, a potential billable hell, and Musk readies his wallet.
To post or not to post — that is the question. Or, at least, that is the standoff Paris Campbell and Apple (her employer) find themselves in. Earlier this month, Campbell posted a TikTok responding to another TikTok of a woman who said she lost her iPhone at Coachella and was being extorted to remove the phone from her Apple ID so it could be sold on the black market.
Campbell's response was to not remove the iPhone, because “your phone is actually useless to them, and you’re the only person that can save them [as in, allowing them to actually sell the phone], and I suggest that you don’t.” Shortly thereafter, Campbell's manager called her to say that her video violated Apple's social media protocols and could result in her firing. Rather than remove the video, Campbell instead posted a second video defending her actions. Apple has yet to respond to the new actions, reports The Verge.
According to internal documents, Apple tells employees “we want you to be yourself, but you should also be respectful in posts, tweets, and other online communications.”
In her second video, Campbell claims that “after reviewing the social media policies ... nowhere does it say I can’t identify myself as an Apple employee publicly, just that I shouldn’t do so in a way that makes the company look bad,” and that “I don’t just have all this Apple knowledge because I work for Apple. I come to this knowledge because I have a long technical education and history. That’s why they hired me.”
A Policy Of Silence
As Apple Insider details, the iPhone-maker has a strong culture of secrecy. When a popular YouTube personality named Mark Rober joined the company in 2015 to work on an augmented virtual display patent, Apple asked that he cease making videos. He ultimately agreed to delay posting videos by three months but insisted he was allowed to continue his YouTube channel. One year later, Rober was invited onto the Jimmy Kimmel show and was prompted yet again to check with Apple. The request was sent all the way up to the company's number-two-in-command, Dan Riccio, where he wasn’t given an outright no.
Campbell may have a case that she did not violate company policy, especially if that policy is vague. That being said, she is just one employee against the behemoth that is Apple so the odds are stacked against her.
🎧 What We’re Listening To
This week, we’ve got our headphones plugged into a journey we’re more than happy to take you all on. That is — The Path from Paralegal to Legal Ops. Listen in on our latest event recap wherever you get your podcasts today.
The Path from Paralegal to Legal Operations, Lawtrades
In an unprecedented move, the FBI raided the home of former president Donald Trump last Monday in connection with an ongoing investigation involving several documents moved from the White House to the private residence. Then, in a similarly unprecedented move, US Attorney General Merrick Garland asked a federal court last week to unseal the warrant so that the department could be as transparent as possible with the American public who had “substantial” interest in the matter. The move came as Trump and his defenders attacked the DOJ and FBI, though Garland said, “I will not stand by silently when [the FBI's] integrity is unfairly attacked.”
Search warrants are typically never made public before criminal charges are brought forth, but the AG's move signals the extremely delicate and high-stakes nature of this case.
For his part, Trump stated that he would not oppose the unsealing, but rather was “encouraging the immediate release of those documents” from what he called the “unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in,” reports The Guardian.
Intensification of Threats
The FBI's actions and Trump's response has triggered a fury of threats against federal law enforcement from members of Congress to ordinary Americans. According to The New York Times, shortly before AG Garland's speech, the former president tried to send a message to Garland saying that he “had been checking in with people around the country and found them to be enraged by the search.”
On Thursday, a Trump supporter who potentially participated in the January 6th insurrection attacked an FBI field office in Cincinnati, OH. Shortly before the assailant posted to Truth Social that, “if you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I.” and that he wanted a “call to arms” against the FBI asking followers to “be ready for combat.” In Congress, Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Paul Gosar have called for “destroying or defunding the FBI,” reports Politico.
It seems that each point in this story is a further twist open on a can of worms. Will Trump be prosecuted? Will he be sent to jail? Will more violence and discord be sown? Calling this unprecedented feels trite (even saying it’s trite feels so!) but the truth is, the American Democratic experiment is facing a test it has never faced before.
🐦 Yet Another Blue Bird?!
In case we forgot to mention, here at Not Billable, we have a brand spankin’ new Twitter. Be on the lookout for first dibs on blog updates, podcast snippets, memes, & more.
Chipotle has reached a settlement with the city of New York worth a potential $20 million over claims that the fast food chain has violated scheduling and sick leave laws for over 4 years. The settlement will be the largest in the city's history and affects some 13,000 employees who worked between November 2017 and April 2022. Chipotle will potentially pay these claimants $50 per week for each week they worked during that period.
According to The New York Times, the Fair Workweek Law, which went into effect in 2017, requires workplaces to “provide workers with their schedules at least two weeks in advance or pay a bonus for the shifts … give workers at least 11 hours off between shifts on consecutive days or get written consent and pay them an extra $100.”
In conjunction with a separate city law requiring 56 hours of sick leave per year, “The employers must also offer workers more shifts before hiring additional employees, to make it easier for them to earn a sustainable income.”
“We’re pleased to be able to resolve these issues,” Chipotle's chief restaurant officer said in a statement, adding that the company has implemented new time-keeping technology and other measures to ensure compliance with the labor laws.
Stemming The Union Push
Over the summer, Chipotle began closing stores in Maine that had filed union petitions. Employees and labor union representatives claimed the actions were “a slap in the face” and a threat to other employees thinking of unionizing, reports Maine Public Radio. Chipotle, however, counters that at one of the locations, it had “been unable to adequately staff this remote restaurant with crew and continue to be plagued with excessive call-outs and lack of availability from existing staff.”
Unionization efforts at Chipotle and other chain restaurants like Starbucks have only intensified in recent months. The Service Employees International Union (or SEIU) helped initial New York City's investigation of labor law violations at the chain's New York locations, suggesting that Chipotle feared a large unionization push if it continued to ignore the wage theft accusations.
Is $20 million enough for Chipotle to buy its way out of a union drive in the country's largest (and most visible) city? That's the bet the fast food chain is making. Then again, the tides seem to be rising for unions everywhere.
📤 What Else We're Forwarding
Net Payment: The US Women's National Soccer team has received preliminary approval by a federal judge for a $24 million equal pay settlement, says Forbes. The deal has been 5-years in the making and will go to the 30 women on the team.
Billable Hell: What if law firms monitored your central nervous system and began billing “units of attention” rather than hours, asks Above The Law. The technology is there, and the idea is not as far-fetched (though it is definitely as hellish) as it seems.
Stocked Up: Elon Musk has sold nearly $7 billion in Tesla shares as of August 9, The Verge reports. The sale, according to Musk's own tweet, is in preparation for the impending showdown between the billionaire and Twitter.
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See ya next week!