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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 291
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    Any time you are required to be at work (like lining up for bag searches) you should be compensated for your time.
  • Reply 2 of 291
    just_mejust_me Posts: 590member


    Deport them to foxconn 

  • Reply 3 of 291
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Jesus, will wonders never cease?
  • Reply 4 of 291
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member


    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.

  • Reply 5 of 291
    see flatsee flat Posts: 145member
    I just don't understand the pettiness.
  • Reply 6 of 291
    mactoidmactoid Posts: 112member
    This seems like a pretty basic issue for Apple to get hung up on.
  • Reply 7 of 291
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,381member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 291
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,776member
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 291
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member


    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.

  • Reply 10 of 291
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member

    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.

  • Reply 11 of 291
    jumperjumper Posts: 34member
    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.

  • Reply 12 of 291
    disturbiadisturbia Posts: 563member
    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!
  • Reply 13 of 291
    jumperjumper Posts: 34member

    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. 

  • Reply 14 of 291
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 291
    sambirasambira Posts: 90member

    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"?  :)

  • Reply 16 of 291
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    mcarling wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 291
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 165member


    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.

  • Reply 18 of 291
    radster360radster360 Posts: 545member


    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.

  • Reply 19 of 291
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 291
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member

    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.

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