Apple Store employees complained directly to Tim Cook over bag search policy

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2015
According to court documents unsealed on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook received personal emails from Apple Store employees regarding bag check policies instituted for security purposes, calling the searches "embarrassing," "demeaning" and "disturbing."




As reported by Reuters, Cook received multiple personal emails from staff speaking out against company policy that forced employees to undergo personal bag checks before exiting an Apple Store.

One worker, whose name was redacted from the filing, told Cook in 2012 that Apple Store managers "are required to treat 'valued' employees as criminals." Bag checks are commonly implemented in the retail world to prevent employee theft, though many companies shield such procedures from the public by performing checks behind the scenes or requiring staff use clear bags.

Cook responded by forwarding the email or emails to retail and human resources executives, asking, "Is this true?" Responses to Cook's email were not made public, but the filing did contain correspondence between other Apple executives, including VP of human resources Denise Young Smith.

"If it is simply a deterrent there has to be a more intelligent and respectful way to approach," Smith said in an email.

Employees first filed a class action lawsuit against Apple in 2013, claiming lost wages over the company's bag search policy. The suit notes hourly retail workers were required to submit to "personal package and bag searches" when clocking out, which led to unpaid wait times between 10 and 15 minutes at the end of every shift. Another five minutes went uncompensated for meal breaks.

Presiding U.S. District Court Judge William Alsop dismissed the case with prejudice in December, but plaintiffs Amanda Frelkin, Taylor Kalin, Aaron Gregoroff, Seth Dowling and Debra Speicher consolidated their cases and are seeking class certification.

A court hearing to determine plaintiffs' motion for certification is scheduled for July 2.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 132
    What's interesting is that John Browett was vice president of retail operations at Apple from April 2012 until October 2012, approximately the time when the first emails (reported by the linked Reuters article) to Tim Cook was sent. It's also interesting that the complaints continued into 2013, after Browett was fired.
  • Reply 2 of 132
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,093member
    Deadbeats!
  • Reply 3 of 132
    Many retailers have similar policies, and, as intrusive as they may feel, many retailers also experience significant theft from employees! I never stole anything from any employer, but I'm sure they all lost some things from time to time! As to the allegations that they had to wait too long, that's pure nonsense! Any employer I worked for, including Apple, never took more than a couple of minutes to get me out the door!
  • Reply 4 of 132
    aimbddaimbdd Posts: 45member
    Rediculous... Absolutely normal practice for almost ALL retail! You guys aren't special just because you work for Apple!
    Although yes, they should have been getting paid for it. You definitely can't blame Apple with the price of Apple watches and the size.
  • Reply 5 of 132
    Products are getting thinner and smaller AND more expensive ... witness the gold ?watch at +$10K.

    By the time Apple releases the iBurger, lord only knows how small and how expensive it may be. A person could slip out with a whole snoot-ful of iBurgers....
  • Reply 6 of 132

    Whiners. I've seen bag searches elsewhere and people just submitted and it was done in a minute. Most people believe that shoplifting is primarily done by customers when, on the average, 80% of the time it is done by employees and Apple makes "small stuff" too. How would these people do it if they were in charge?

  • Reply 7 of 132

    I lose any sympathy I might have had because this is a California lawsuit.

  • Reply 8 of 132
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Has Apple ever heard of Find My iPhone?
  • Reply 9 of 132
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    The solution is simple. All bags, jackets etc brought into the store must be put into a locker. put the lockers in a location that isn't where any parts or stock are kept. if shit goes missing and they see that you took a bag or jacket into one of said areas you will be on the short list of culprits.

    i used to work at a Borders and those were our rules. lockers were in the break room and there were cameras to make sure no one was trying to get into lockers to steal from co workers and it had a view of the time clock which was right at the door. you dropped your lunch in the fridge, put your bag etc in a locker and clocked in on your way out the door. end of shift, you clocked out then grabbed your stuff and out the employee entrance you went
  • Reply 10 of 132
    Standard practice in retail. I used to work Macy's security and check bags. The employees never cared.

    And, no, employees don't deserve the same respect as customers - it's a different relationship.
  • Reply 11 of 132
    mellamella Posts: 8member
    people in these comments being critical over employees bemoaning invasive personal searches are such tools
  • Reply 12 of 132
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post



    The solution is simple. All bags, jackets etc brought into the store must be put into a locker. put the lockers in a location that isn't where any parts or stock are kept. if shit goes missing and they see that you took a bag or jacket into one of said areas you will be on the short list of culprits.



    i used to work at a Borders and those were our rules. lockers were in the break room and there were cameras to make sure no one was trying to get into lockers to steal from co workers and it had a view of the time clock which was right at the door. you dropped your lunch in the fridge, put your bag etc in a locker and clocked in on your way out the door. end of shift, you clocked out then grabbed your stuff and out the employee entrance you went



    Problem is a book is a little harder to smuggle than an iPod Shuffle.

  • Reply 13 of 132
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

      Quote:


    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Problem is a book is a little harder to smuggle than an iPod Shuffle.


     

    I want you to think about that statement. If the packaging is intact, it's fairly comparable in size, albeit not identical. If they're able to take it out of the packaging, they would be able to smuggle one without the use of a bag.

  • Reply 14 of 132
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post

     

      Quote:

     

    I want you to think about that statement. If the packaging is intact, it's fairly comparable in size, albeit not identical. If they're able to take it out of the packaging, they would be able to smuggle one without the use of a bag.




    Lets see. iPod Shuffle is a small cube. A book doesn't tend to fit in most jean pockets. A Shuffle box would fit in someone's sock.

  • Reply 15 of 132
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Lets see. iPod Shuffle is a small cube. A book doesn't tend to fit in most jean pockets. A Shuffle box would fit in someone's sock.




    Ah damn somehow I didn't think of the word shuffle, even though you wrote it. The smallest idevice I used was a nano for jogging. A shuffle seems like a fairly high risk, considering it wouldn't sell for very much. If it could be smuggled out in someone's sock, bag searches won't prevent that.

  • Reply 16 of 132
    laytechlaytech Posts: 142member
    Perfectly normal, unfortunately, the rules had to be made due to a select few that ruins it for the majority, I think fair enough with exception of the time lost.
  • Reply 17 of 132
    bradipaobradipao Posts: 145member
    aimbdd wrote: »
    Rediculous... Absolutely normal practice for almost ALL retail!

    In which countries is it normal practice?
  • Reply 18 of 132
    nairbnairb Posts: 253member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bradipao View Post





    In which countries is it normal practice?

     

    None that I have lived in. In most free countries you can only have your bag searched in high security environments. Even then, usually only searched if x-ray scan shows something suspicious. 

  • Reply 19 of 132
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,825member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobbyfozz View Post

     

    Whiners. I've seen bag searches elsewhere and people just submitted and it was done in a minute. Most people believe that shoplifting is primarily done by customers when, on the average, 80% of the time it is done by employees and Apple makes "small stuff" too. How would these people do it if they were in charge?




    The complaint is about them being paid for that time while the bag search is taking place.  With the bag searches you've seen done elsewhere were the staff compensated for the delay, or expected to wait past the end of their shift?

  • Reply 20 of 132

    These are Americans. They long ago gave up personal liberty for stupid things like "lower prices" and "security".

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