(Bloomberg) — The National Labor Relations Board dismissed the most serious allegations against Apple Inc. in a high-profile case involving fired retail store employees, though officials still maintain that the company mistreated workers.

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Last year, the company terminated five workers who helped organize union activity at its store in Kansas City, Missouri. The workers were let go for missing work, showing up late and failing to properly mark their attendance, Apple said. But the Communications Workers of America, or CWA, alleged in charges filed with the NLRB last year that the workers were actually fired for their unionization efforts.

NLRB prosecutors originally dismissed the firing allegations last October, but the union filed an appeal in November. On Thursday, the NLRB rejected the appeal, telling the CWA “that the evidence was insufficient to show that the employer discharged the employees because of their protected activities rather than the legitimate business reasons relied on by the employer.”

Still, the general counsel’s office determined that Apple did violate the law in other ways, including by coercing employees to waive their legal rights, threatening them with worse working conditions because they supported a union, and interrogating them about their labor activism, NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado said Friday.

The general counsel’s office also found that Apple violated the law by holding mandatory “captive audience” anti-union meetings, Blado said in an email. Absent a settlement, the NLRB plans to issue a complaint against the company.

“We strongly deny these claims and look forward to providing the full set of facts to the NLRB,” Apple said in an emailed statement. Complaints issued by NLRB prosecutors are considered by agency judges, whose rulings can be appealed to labor board members in Washington and from there to federal appeals court. The agency lacks authority to make companies pay punitive damages for violations or hold executives personally responsible for violations.

Apple has clashed with union groups and the US labor board over the last two years as retail stores in the US push to unionize. So far, only two locations — Oklahoma City and Towson, Maryland — have successfully unionized. A store in Short Hills, New Jersey, is voting this weekend to determine if it should take that step.

Also this weekend, the Towson location will vote on whether to authorize a strike ahead of new bargaining talks with Apple. The two sides have reached a series of agreements, but none of the terms represent a big change from Apple’s existing policies. The union told employees that there are ongoing negotiations regarding pay, overtime, unpaid leave of absences, time-away benefits and scheduling.

Earlier this month, the US National Labor Relations Board ruled that Apple illegally interrogated staff at its World Trade Center store in New York City.

(Updates with additional NLRB allegations fourth paragraph.)

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