Judge dismisses Apple Store employee 'bag check' lawsuits following Supreme Court ruling

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2015
Citing a recent Supreme Court ruling, a federal court judge last week dismissed a pair of proposed class action lawsuits leveled against Apple by its retail employees, who argued the company's anti-theft policies incurred lost wages.



Last Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsop dismissed with prejudice a suit alleging loss prevention practices applied at Apple Stores across the country deprived workers of "millions of dollars" in wages and overtime.

Judge Alsop's ruling hinges on a unanimous Supreme Court decision (PDF link) regarding a similar situation involving employee security checks and overtime pay.

In the case INTEGRITY STAFFING SOLUTIONS, INC. v. BUSK, the court found a temp agency not responsible for paying out Amazon warehouse workers subject to mandatory security screening, reports The New York Times. Plaintiffs argued that they should be paid for time spent taking out wallets and other items as part of Amazon's daily screening, but the decision, penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the process was not "integral and indispensable" to their jobs.

Applied to Apple's suits, Judge Alsop consolidated and dismissed two actions, noting case claims do not survive Busk. Individual claims by named plaintiffs Dean Pelle, Adam Kilker, and Brandon Fisher were specifically dismissed since a class was never certified.

An original complaint lodged in June of last year asserted Apple had deprived hourly retail workers of due pay by employing bag checks when they clocked out before lunch breaks and at the end of each shift. Plaintiffs offered the example of one worker who racked up approximately 50 minutes to 90 minutes of uncompensated overtime, which equated to about $1,400 over the course of one year.

Plaintiffs have until Jan. 6 to present a second consolidated complaint, with Judge Alsop requesting counsel append the document to highlight differences between the new pleadings and those recently dismissed.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,833member
    Slap!
  • Reply 2 of 71
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,086member
    Don't bring a bag, I guess.
  • Reply 3 of 71
    Apple has been on a winning streak in the courts lately. Expect the ibook case to be overturned by the appeals court.
  • Reply 4 of 71
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    50 minutes to 90 minutes of uncompensated overtime, which equated to about $1,400 over the course of one year. 

     

    Wha???

    Wanna clarify that, Mikey?

  • Reply 5 of 71
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    Isn't there some way to throw these scumbag bottom-feeding lawyers in jail, and disbar them?
  • Reply 6 of 71
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post



    Don't bring a bag, I guess.



    That's a bit of a stupid statement to make.

     

    Bags are used for uniforms, lunches, and many women use them for makeup and whatnot.

  • Reply 7 of 71
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,590member
    Smart decision.

    I understand a need for handbags and such. Perhaps bring smaller bags or just the essentials.
  • Reply 8 of 71

    Based on the precedent, there was no way that it wouldn't be dismissed - but that doesn't mean that the law shouldn't be such that they shouldn't be paid. The problem isn't so much how long it takes to be checked out, but there are delays in doing the security check so the employee is stuck inside the store, unable to leave. And as the law exists now, there's no incentive on the part of the employer to reduce the waiting time (by putting a higher priority on managers to do the check, have more people doing checks, etc.). I suspect state laws will apply before federal laws change.

  • Reply 9 of 71
    the decision, penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the process was not "integral and indispensable" to their jobs.

    In that case when the workers knock off for the day they should simply walk out. If they are restrained they have a case for unlawful imprisonment.

    If they re fired they can seek damages for constructive dismissal.

    Apple can't have it both ways. If you require an employee to wear a certain red shirt then as an employer you are required to supply one. If an employer requires an employee to remain on the premises that employee should absolutely be compensated. Time is money. The Courts have this wrong. The law should allow for a "reasonable time for security check" that would leave employees open to seek redress for substantially long wait times.

    I hope this case continues as it could affect many workers all over the country who are forced to waste a great deal of their time waiting for employers to get there security together.
    The law should have the clock out clock on the outside of the security area not inside. Lets see how quick that line will go then.
  • Reply 10 of 71
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,897moderator
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetDon View Post

     

    Based on the precedent, there was no way that it wouldn't be dismissed - but that doesn't mean that the law shouldn't be such that they shouldn't be paid. The problem isn't so much how long it takes to be checked out, but there are delays in doing the security check so the employee is stuck inside the store, unable to leave. And as the law exists now, there's no incentive on the part of the employer to reduce the waiting time (by putting a higher priority on managers to do the check, have more people doing checks, etc.). I suspect state laws will apply before federal laws change.




    I see this a bit differently.  When you take a job that has a security check component, you accept that as part of the process of getting to and leaving your workplace.  To my mind this is little different than taking a job with a bit longer commute; you understand this is part of the process of getting to/from work and you either accept it or find another place to work.  I'm not sure why affected employees wouldn't equate it in this manner.

  • Reply 11 of 71
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

     



    I see this a bit differently.  When you take a job that has a security check component, you accept that as part of the process of getting to and leaving your workplace.  To my mind this is little different than taking a job with a bit longer commute; you understand this is part of the process of getting to/from work and you either accept it or find another place to work.  I'm not sure why affected employees wouldn't equate it in this manner.




    The employer has no control over your commute. They don't know where you live, and if you want it shorter, you could in theory move.

     

    They've got lots of control over how long it takes to do the security check when people leave. They could schedule it so everyone checks out at once, there's only one person who does the checks and he's to do the checks after he does other tasks (so there's a long wait) or have multiple people do the security check and have people check out on a staggered rate (so there's a short wait). The former is cheaper for the employer and it's the employee who pays for the employer's convenience. If the employee was paid for that waiting time when, due to the rules that the employer has set forth, he is forced to be at the workplace unable to go do what the employee wants and required to follow the employer's orders (the waiting employees aren't allowed to start a pickup game of basketball in the store, for example), the employer would have an incentive to reduce that waiting time.

  • Reply 12 of 71
    Another day, another lawsuit... Next!
  • Reply 13 of 71
    I used to work at Apple at a time when they required up to ten minutes of prep before you could even get on the phone to take your first call. They, at the time, only started paying you once you were logged in and ready to take a call.

    When I left the company I emailed Steve Jobs (I had his personal address) and every manager from him on down to mine a link to a recent press release from the Dept of Labor announcing that they had just charged T-Mobile about a 5 million fee for violating labor law for the exact same practice in their call centers.

    Apple changed their policy company-wide within a month and started paying call center employees (at the time making about 12 an hour) from when they sat down in their cube, not when they were actually taking calls.

    I think this will get overturned, it's lame they'd require their employees to sit and wait, indefinitely, and not pay them.
  • Reply 14 of 71
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,637member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by motoservo View Post



    I think this will get overturned, it's lame they'd require their employees to sit and wait, indefinitely, and not pay them.

    I agree employees should not be held, but I don't think it will get overturned with pro-business, anti-employee Republicans controlling things.

  • Reply 15 of 71
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    IF and only if the employee is told, don't bring a bag to work, then I can agree with the ruling (although it's a crappy inconvenience, and would be nice if the employer provided lockers outside the secure zone where people could quickly stash stuff).

    As long as having a bag is optional, then the security search is optional too.

    I would also make a distinction between "optional" and "not really": you can't expect workers to have NOTHING, not even keys or a wallet. Amazon, I would say, is in the wrong to crack down on such vital items and do it on employees' time. Does Apple crack down on that stuff too, or just on bags?
  • Reply 16 of 71
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by UKBrooklyn View Post



    the decision, penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the process was not "integral and indispensable" to their jobs.



    In that case when the workers knock off for the day they should simply walk out. If they are restrained they have a case for unlawful imprisonment.

     

    I agree, as long as the search is NON-optional. If it's every person, every time, and the employee has no way to get out if it, then it'd work time!

     

    But if the worker can CHOOSE to skip the security check by not BRINGING a bag, that changes things. You want a bag for your personal use? We won't pay you for your time to make it secure.

     

    If Apple required everyone to bring a bag to work, say, THAT would make this ruling unacceptable.

  • Reply 17 of 71
    I think the Apple case and Amazon case are significantly different. By the sounds of it, at Amazon you could have long lines of people waiting to pass through screening simply because of the large number of employees. Apple stores have a much smaller number of employees and not everyone starts/ends at the same time.

    Maybe someone who works at an Apple Store can chime in, but I can't see how this could add up to more than a couple minutes a day.
  • Reply 18 of 71

    Um, why not just check their bags right BEFORE they clock out? Problem solved!

  • Reply 19 of 71
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by UKBrooklyn View Post



    the decision, penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the process was not "integral and indispensable" to their jobs.



    In that case when the workers knock off for the day they should simply walk out. If they are restrained they have a case for unlawful imprisonment.



    If they re fired they can seek damages for constructive dismissal.



    Apple can't have it both ways. If you require an employee to wear a certain red shirt then as an employer you are required to supply one. If an employer requires an employee to remain on the premises that employee should absolutely be compensated. Time is money. The Courts have this wrong. The law should allow for a "reasonable time for security check" that would leave employees open to seek redress for substantially long wait times.



    I hope this case continues as it could affect many workers all over the country who are forced to waste a great deal of their time waiting for employers to get there security together.

    The law should have the clock out clock on the outside of the security area not inside. Lets see how quick that line will go then.

     

    Waste a great deal of time? According to one of the plantiff in the article, he wanted Apple to compensate him for 50 to 90 minutes of OT, over the course of A YEAR. If he worked 200 days a year, that's less than 30 seconds a day. I hardly think waiting 30 seconds a day to leave your work place, is a great deal of time.

     

    What's next, OT for the 2 to 3 minutes it takes you to walk to your car,(every work day), that's parked in a company's  lot? Surely, the company can put time clocks out in their parking lot, so employees gets paid for the time it takes them to walk to their cars. Why should the employees that got to work early and got parking spots close to the building entrance, spend less of their own time getting to their cars after work? 

     

    Here's another scenario. Suppose you work on the 20th floor of a 30 floor office building. Should you be compensated for the time you have to wait for and on an elevator everyday, after you're already in the building or already clocked out from work. Is it fair that a person working on the first floor, spends less time waiting for and in an elevator when going to and leaving from work. (Plus he/she can easily walk up/down one flight of stairs.)  

     

    And technically, employers can't have the clock outside the security check area because if an employee is caught with a stolen item in his/her bag, he/she isn't off the clock and still at work and therefore not stealing. If it's a union work place, the union will fight it and win. It's the same with shoplifting. Store security will wait until a shoplifter is outside of the store before they nab him/her. Even though they could have nabbed the shoplifter once they saw him/her put the item in his/her pocket. The reason being, the shoplifter can always say they were going to pay for it on the way out. Once outside the store, a shoplifter has no excuse. 

  • Reply 20 of 71
    zonezone Posts: 53member

    You guys don't get it. I worked at Apple for a long time and these checks could takes as long as 5 to 10 minutes when store was busy. Customer service is Apple main focus and management could care less if you wait around for them to look in your bag. Why would they, there not paying for it. Just stand and wait till I am done and maybe I look but don't leave because you might be stealing. Since there are only a few managers on the floor what do you think there priorities are. Employee wanting to leave or crazy customers wanting a new phone because they drop it.

     

    This can add up to a week or more over a year. Apple stores are always busy. Why should you wait off the clock for a security check? A few seconds is ok but this a lack of leadership and and a failure of technology. This could be fix many different way and it should not be at the expense of the employee. If its required then you should be compensated for it as its part of your job. 

     

    Some of the example against apple paying are ridiculous. Most people who work in a "Real" non retail job are paid salaries and not by the hour. You also don't have your bags checked or have to clock in and out. Hate to say it but most of you don't know how good you have it and couldn't last a day at an Apple Store.

     

    Have some respect for the people who give so much to you, help you and answer all your stupid questions. All their asking is to be paid for their time. What little they do make...

     

    FYI you cannot skip this and if its by the book even your own personal phone has to be checked with a card and a serial number. So don't have a bag but I bet you have some technology on you. Let me see if that really your phone or iPod etc. Oh and yes people have to eat so I guess they need to check their food containers. See it gets out of hand and you have no idea what your talking about… by they way Apple losses due to employees theft are almost non existent due to many factor but one being they hire excellent people who really do care about the company and would never steal from what they believe in so much.

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