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Apple retail workers file class action suit claiming lost wages over bag searches

post #1 of 273
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Former retail employees from Apple Stores in New York and Los Angeles have formed a class action suit against the iPhone maker, claiming that the company's anti-theft policies amounted to unpaid work to the tune of $1,500 per employee per year.



The filing for the suit alleges that "Apple has engaged and continues to engage in illegal and improper wage practices that have deprived Apple Hourly Employees throughout the United States of millions of dollars in wages and overtime compensation." At the center of the plaintiffs' case is the anti-theft procedure Apple requires its employees to go through.

At the end of a shift, as well as when clocking out to leave for a meal break, Apple's hourly retail employees must submit to "personal package and bag searches," during which the employees are off-the-clock. The complaint notes that these checks are "significant, integral, indispensable... and done solely for Apple's benefit to prevent employee pilferage."

As the employees were hourly and the checks only occurred when they were off the clock, they were not compensated for Apple's security procedures. The complaint claims the employees waited typically between 10 and 15 minutes and the end of every shift, as well as another five without compensation prior to going off for "uncompensated meal breaks."

"During any given week," the complaint reads, "[one plaintiff] worked approximately 50 minutes to 1.5 hours of uncompensated overtime. By conservative calculations, this equated over the course of one year to an aggregate amount of approximately $1,400 in uncompensated hours."

Included in the class action are "[a]ll Apple Hourly Employees who worked in an Apple, Inc. retail store in the United States, who are or were employed within the three years preceding the the filing of this action by the Defendant, and who were: (a) not compensated for off-the-clock time spent waiting in security screening lines and undergoing personal package and bag searches before being allowed to leave the premises; and/or (b) were not fully compensated for this time worked over forty hours per week at overtime rates." It further alleges that Apple's "unlawful conduct has been widespread, repeated and consistent" as well as "willful and in bad faith."

Apple's security checkout policy for employees is not entirely unique among retailers, specifically among those dealing in electronic devices. Game retailer GameStop, for instance, has had a similar policy for some time, one in which employees search each other's bags and person following the completion of closing duties. The pocket and bag checks at that retailer, though, are done while employees are still on the clock.

The new lawsuit seeks certification as a class action suit, recompense for the plaintiffs and other members of the class in the amount of unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime, and unpaid waiting time. It also seeks "a declaratory judgment that the practices complained of herein are unlawful... and injunctive relief requiring termination or modification of the unlawful practices."

The case ? Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle v. Apple, Inc. ? was filed on July 25 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial.

Apple's retail operations have grown in popularity along with its products, and Apple Retail now represents a significant portion of the company's revenue intake. They are among the most heavily trafficked retail spaces in the world, with yearly visitor counts on the level of popular theme parks.

All along, though, the state of employees working in Apple stores has been an issue of contention. Last year, The New York Times published an expose on Apple's retail outlets, revealing that employees were making "average pay" according to the standards of retail, but lower than do employees in some other less profitable corporations.

An internal interview conducted by Apple found that pay was a major concern among employees. Staff in the retail outlets earn between $9 and $15 per hour, while Geniuses make roughly $30 per hour.

post #2 of 273
Any time you are required to be at work (like lining up for bag searches) you should be compensated for your time.

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post #3 of 273

Deport them to foxconn 

post #4 of 273
Jesus, will wonders never cease?
post #5 of 273

That's absurd.  Apple do not require employees to bring bags to work, so not one is required to be there for a bag search.

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post #6 of 273
I just don't understand the pettiness.
post #7 of 273
This seems like a pretty basic issue for Apple to get hung up on.
post #8 of 273
Wow, a whole fucking hour per WEEK? I like how everyone, from the US gvt to Apple's own employees, are just clamoring to throw Apple under the bus because of greed and attention-whorism. Quit if you don't like the policies. There's a million other companies you can work at, and a long line of people who really wish they could get a job at Apple retail.
post #9 of 273
Just a pet peeve...Why is Apple always referred to as "the iPhone maker". Well never mind they make all kinds of other successful products too. Can you editors come up with something else to describe Apple other than the maker of the iPhone?

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post #10 of 273

Their case is perfectly valid. Company wants your time, company pays you. Pretty simple.

Apple has a right to be diligent, but not on their employees' dime.

post #11 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Quit if you don't like the policies. There's a million other companies you can work at, and a long line of people who really wish they could get a job at Apple retail.

Yes, because corporations are sainted objects of worship and whatever they say goes.

Nothing like self-loathing humans.


Edited by GQB - 7/29/13 at 1:49pm
post #12 of 273
Gee .... if I didn't like something about my job I'd quit and get a job some place else. Hope these nit-wits lose and they have to pay legal fees to Apple.
post #13 of 273
Yep! Always travel light then if you don't want to be searched! No bags and etc.

Blame the 1st person who left work with bunch of iPhones and iPads in his / her backpack!

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

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post #14 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Their case is perfectly valid. Company wants your time, company pays you. Pretty simple.

Apple has a right to be diligent, but not on their employees' dime.

Are you kidding .... what are we talking about maybe 1 minute or less. Every time I leave Costco they do the same thing. This is a stupid lawsuit. I hope it gets tossed. 

post #15 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by jumper View Post

Gee .... if I didn't like something about my job I'd quit and get a job some place else. Hope these nit-wits lose and they have to pay legal fees to Apple.
 

A million years ago I worked as a stockboy at a fabric store.  The energic assistant manager told me to quickly wash the front door on the way home every day--after clocking out.  I did the former and not the latter and we got along fine.

 

It does sound like Apple shouldn't be "consuming" employees' uncompensated time for these security procedures.

post #16 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

Just a pet peeve...Why is Apple always referred to as "the iPhone maker". Well never mind they make all kinds of other successful products too. Can you editors come up with something else to describe Apple other than the maker of the iPhone?

You mean like "Apple"?  :)

post #17 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcarling View Post

That's absurd.  Apple do not require employees to bring bags to work, so not one is required to be there for a bag search.

Provided this is true, this case won't even make it past the preliminaries.

And I've seen plenty of Apple Store employees come on shift. Not one was carrying a bag.

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post #18 of 273

They should be compensated for any extra time on work premises while under the authority of the employer.  Doing a search is work...work = compensation.  This is a shame for a company who's products I enjoy.

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post #19 of 273

I think this is ridiculous law suite! The only people who is going to come out ahead are the lawyers, incase they even win. Maybe, all these employee should give back the time they get to go take a leak or take a dump while they are working. Or how about stop bring those bag to work - Why do you need any bag? Are you bringing any tools from home? Only thing I can think is maybe lunch or dinner. Dudes, You are becoming greedy! If you don't like the practice go work somewhere else.

post #20 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Provided this is true, this case won't even make it past the preliminaries.
 

Yep, they'll settle out of court.

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post #21 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by jumper View Post

Are you kidding .... what are we talking about maybe 1 minute or less. Every time I leave Costco they do the same thing. This is a stupid lawsuit. I hope it gets tossed. 

Nope, I really do believe that 

1) employees don't have a right to steal goods from their employer, and

2) employers don't have a right to steal time from their workers.

 

Pretty consistent, I'd say.

post #22 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

2) employers don't have a right to steal time from their workers.

That goes both ways, of course, but the opposite isn't relevant here.

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #23 of 273
So I guess these same employees wouldn't mind if Apple docked their pay for the time they spend on personal calls while on the clock? This is petty nonsense.
post #24 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by radster360 View Post

Or how about stop bring those bag to work - Why do you need any bag? Are you bringing any tools from home? Only thing I can think is maybe lunch or dinner.

Ladies need bags for lady stuff.  Both genders may be students with school bags..working and going to school is common these days.

 

The point is, they are kept back at work and not compensated.  How about if your employer made you stay back an hour after you clock out...are you okay with that?  The retail works make 'bird food' money. Starting pay is around $10.75/hr.  Anyone here making that? If so, I'm sure the ~$1,000 you're missing could at least pay for your transportation to and from work, school, and home.  

 

Put yourself in that hypothetical situation, and consider how you would feel.

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post #25 of 273
This is pretty black and white. If Apple Retail wants to do bag checks, do it while the employee is on the clock. If store management is telling employees to clock out, and then submit to a bag check, there are legal issues, especially if employees are waiting around 10-15 minutes.
post #26 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Any time you are required to be at work (like lining up for bag searches) you should be compensated for your time.

 

I guess it begs the question, should airport employees, for example, be on the clock the minute they enter the terminal?

 

Perhaps Apple should have a room or lockers off site for employees to store their personal property. As such, they would have to or be able to bring in 'bags' of coat pockets into the workplace. Thus no need to conduct a search.

post #27 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBlongz View Post

Ladies need bags for lady stuff.  Both genders may be students with school bags..working and going to school is common these days.

None of these cases are valid. Ladies do not "need" bags.
Quote:
The point is, they are kept back at work and not compensated.  How about if your employer made you stay back an hour after you clock out...are you okay with that?

If I'm the reason it's happening, like they are, I have to be okay with it.
Quote:
Put yourself in that hypothetical situation, and consider how you would feel.

"Wow, if my time is really that important, I should probably stop bringing my bag."

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post #28 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

Just a pet peeve...Why is Apple always referred to as "the iPhone maker". Well never mind they make all kinds of other successful products too. Can you editors come up with something else to describe Apple other than the maker of the iPhone?

Should be the "iPhone designer"
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post #29 of 273

An employee's personal time is his/her personal time. If Apple takes a bite out of it, the company should pay for it. Or, allow employees to leave their posts 15 - 20 mins earlier, and not dock them their pay.

post #30 of 273
I doubt if

1) the searches happened if you didn't have a bag.
2) it took that long. 15 minutes is a long time to search a few employees bags. that would be minutes each person each shift. And to always wait 15 minutes you would always have to be last.

People often go through security before clocking in, never after.
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post #31 of 273
I call BS.

If they were really waiting 10-15 minutes before leaving for their lunch break and 10-15 minutes when returning, they'd be suing for violation of Federal laws which require a lunch break.
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post #32 of 273

"Former retail employees from Apple Stores..."

 

Could be disgruntled ex-employees with an axe to grind, after Browett's time in charge of the retail side & his cutbacks.

 

I'm not in or from the US, & I don't work for Apple, but at the company I work for we get searched as we leave, bags + body scanners. The searches are annoying, but I can understand the security issues. Anyway was / is the search practice part of their contracts they signed when they joined? If so, this might be dead before it gets too far, as they obviously signed the contracts to get the jobs.

post #33 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
Ladies do not "need" bags.

"Wow, if my time is really that important, I should probably stop bringing my bag."

You lose all credibility when you post tripe like this.

post #34 of 273

This whole thing is pretty silly, but somehow I feel compelled to comment. I am on salary, but I have a contract that states our official company hours. Almost nobody in the company (500+ employees in New York) works the actual hours, and most people work a lot more, certainly no "overtime" compensation. That's pretty normal in New York, and probably a lot of other places.

 

If the employees are locked into a long-term contract with penalties if they breach that contract, it would be unfair if they didn't know the terms of their employment, but I don't think that's the case here. If they weren't told ahead of time, they probably figured out after about one day that bringing a bag means that they will have to wait to be searched, on their own time. So they have choices: bring the bag, be searched and deal with it, or don't bring the bag. If we're going to be super petty, should the people who choose to bring bags get to work less productive time for the same pay, so they won't have to be searched on their own time? Presumably they can do something fun with their iPhone while they wait in line. Maybe they even got a discount on that phone.

 

The bags are a security risk, and Apple lets the employees bring them anyway, even though it is costing to search them.

 

My manager wants us at our seats at 9:30, but sometimes the elevator takes FOREVER to come (and it's 42 floors, so it's still faster to wait). Once I'm in the office building, should I have to wait for the elevator on my own time? (Unfortunately, I think the answer is yes.) On the other hand, there are times I'm here and post on AI instead of doing "work."

post #35 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by TogetherWeStand View Post

"Former retail employees from Apple Stores..."

 

Could be disgruntled ex-employees with an axe to grind

The currently employed ones may be afraid to take on their employer for fear of their jobs.

post #36 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Any time you are required to be at work (like lining up for bag searches) you should be compensated for your time.

 

where is the thumbs down button?! 

 

Once more in America, we make up hardship and the sue for compensation! 

post #37 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

where is the thumbs down button?! 

Once more in America, we make up hardship and the sue for compensation! 

Is management subjected to the same? Who's checking the bag checkers?
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post #38 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Their case is perfectly valid. Company wants your time, company pays you. Pretty simple.

Apple has a right to be diligent, but not on their employees' dime.

 

For a bunch of people who stand around all day, when not taking several 15 minute break and a lunch, talking, they really have it hard don't they? 

post #39 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Is management subjected to the same? Who's checking the bag checkers?

 

I would presume everyone is and management checks each other. 

post #40 of 273
"Former retail employees"... repeat Former. Not current, former.

 

I do not take stock in former employee's "suit". Show me current, then I can see maybe having a case. Former are usually on the disgruntled side and usually want more money, or "payback" for being released.

 

If you are current and have an issue, one, don't bring a bag, or two, get everyone together or a group to talk to your manager about it. Being sued by former's is not going to change anything for currents.

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