Lawsuit over Apple Store employee bag checks becomes class action covering over 12,000 workers

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
A long-running lawsuit over bag searches of Apple Store workers was certified as a class action on Thursday, broadening the potential impact to over 12,000 past and present retail staff.




The ruling was issued by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco, Reuters said. Apple had been fighting class action status, arguing that not all store managers were conducting searches and that any that did happen took just a short amount of time.

The case traces its origins back to 2013, when plaintiffs Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle said that Apple Store workers had their bags searched every time they left an outlet -- something allegedly taking five minutes before unpaid meal breaks, and between 10 and 15 minutes at the end of a shift. Such searches were and are designed to deter theft of products that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

While small within the context of a single day however, one plaintiff calculated that they lost 50 minutes to an hour and a half of unpaid overtime each week, translating into $1,400 or more in missing wages over the course of a year.

Earlier court filings obtained by Reuters noted that at least two Apple Store workers complained directly to CEO Tim Cook about the searches, calling them demeaning. One sent an email in 2012, arguing that managers were "required to treat 'valued' employees as criminals."

This prompted Cook to forward the message to retail and human resources executives asking "Is this true?" Any responses the CEO may have got were not included in public documents.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 85
    waterrocketswaterrockets Posts: 1,231member

    This is great news!  For the lawyers.

     

    "Please sign this form so we can cut you a check for $17.32 in 5.5 years if you're still at the same address. Thanks."

  • Reply 2 of 85
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,548member
    Fire them all.

    Apple should then sue the workers for socializing at least 30 minutes a day, costing Apple millions of dollars a year in productive work.

    In the end, only the lawyers win.
  • Reply 3 of 85
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,342member

    My friend worked in a metal refinery that handled gold and silver.  They had to strip all their clothes off and pass through another room to put on their work clothes at the start of their shifts, with no exit for lunch or bathroom use, i.e., they stayed in the processing facility for those...

     

    ...and at the end of their shifts, had to strip again, step into a high pressure shower that opened on one side (to remove gold and silver dust) and then exit to where their street clothes were on the other side... ....passing thru a corridor with a metal detector.



    So there are truly invasive employee anti-theft policies and then there are, well, things like this....

  • Reply 4 of 85
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,902member

    If they win this class action, all retail chains will be sued next because they implement the same method. 

    My prediction: it ain't. Will get thrown out...it's stupid.

  • Reply 5 of 85

    I guess the consensus here is that this is a rubbish law suit. I disagree. If Apple wants to check it's employees for merchandise before they leave (the high end Watch costs over $10k for heavens sakes) that's their business. However, if they are still required to be on employer premises while they wait for the search, it's reasonable apple should pay them for their time.

     

    Apple is fast becoming a nickel-and-diming operation.

  • Reply 6 of 85
    They may need to speed the searches up a bit (or employ the theft prevention strips) but overall the practice is just how things are. I don't see a problem with it. It might need to be paid though.
  • Reply 7 of 85
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,017member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

     

    My friend worked in a metal refinery that handled gold and silver.  They had to strip all their clothes off and pass through another room to put on their work clothes at the start of their shifts, with no exit for lunch or bathroom use, i.e., they stayed in the processing facility for those...

     

    ...and at the end of their shifts, had to strip again, step into a high pressure shower that opened on one side (to remove gold and silver dust) and then exit to where their street clothes were on the other side... ....passing thru a corridor with a metal detector.



    So there are truly invasive employee anti-theft policies and then there are, well, things like this....


    I have a friend who works at the plant that makes Upper Deck sports cards. He has to empty his pockets and his bag is checked every time he leaves the facility. Employee theft cost retailers over $40 billion last year in the U.S. alone. A third of all business bankruptcies are directly caused by employee theft. This lawsuit is definitely a head scratcher. I hope it eventually gets thrown out. 

  • Reply 8 of 85
    razormaidrazormaid Posts: 299member
    I totally agree. Fire them all. I'm sure there's 12,00 people out there that not only would give their eye teeth to be working, but be working for Apple too!

    There's a simple solution to this problem - don't bring your knapsack and purses into the building - DONE! There should be a sign that states "If you bring in a bag or purse it WILL be searched so leave it in your car".

    Hell Apple, just provide lockers outside like REDBOX machine and they can "check them in" there. When I read things like this I get so mad! I know so many people who desperately need a job and when I see a bunch of spoiled brats demanding the world I want to ship them to France. Not that France did anything to us, but they're acting just like the French when I go there on vacation, so they should go live there.

    When you sell idy bity stuff that's $200 - $800 you bet you're going to be searched. Grow up people.

    Apples new policy affective immediately: NO PERSONAL PROPERTY ON OUR PROPERTY. come to work ready to go so you can leave when your shift is up.

    Case dismissed and problem solved.
  • Reply 9 of 85
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,896member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gregquinn View Post

     

    I guess the consensus here is that this is a rubbish law suit. I disagree. If Apple wants to check it's employees for merchandise before they leave (the high end Watch costs over $10k for heavens sakes) that's their business. However, if they are still required to be on employer premises while they wait for the search, it's reasonable apple should pay them for their time.

     

    Apple is fast becoming a nickel-and-diming operation.




    Bull. Every job I've ever worked where a security check was required was considered on the employee's time, not on the clock.

     

    But this is to be expected from the Millennial Generation, eh?  "Look at me! I'm special...I'm on Facebook!"

  • Reply 10 of 85
    cm477cm477 Posts: 95member
    How long would such a search really take? 30 seconds? Certainly not 5, 10, or 15 minutes. Employee theft is a problem in the retail industry. Why not leave the bags at home?
  • Reply 11 of 85
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,896member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



    They may need to speed the searches up a bit (or employ the theft prevention strips) but overall the practice is just how things are. I don't see a problem with it. It might need to be paid though.



    I say it's bogus. Apple should fight this back hard. Unfortunately, I foresee Apple caving in to more and more demands out of a fear of bad press. I daresay the "previous CEO" would tell these ambulance chasers (the lawyers) to GTFO.

  • Reply 12 of 85
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,896member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cm477 View Post



    How long would such a search really take? 30 seconds? Certainly not 5, 10, or 15 minutes. Employee theft is a problem in the retail industry. Why not leave the bags at home?



    All this does is add up to either huge payoffs to the law firms and/or lengthy legal forms for all employees to sign before they are ever hired by Apple covering everything from unpaid security checks to promises to not sue Apple if a moon rock falls on their head.

  • Reply 13 of 85



    Agreed. This is how it was done at the UPS Facility that I worked at some years ago. You were not allowed to bring your personal belongings, including your cell phones into the building. This will I believe get thrown out.

  • Reply 14 of 85
    kent909kent909 Posts: 693member
    I find it interesting that some comments on here are in defense of the employer. Why would anyone defend being viewed as a potential criminal, asked to prove to the employer that you are not, and on your own time, every time you leave your work area. Yes, theft is a huge problem for companies, so apparently searching employees does not work that well or every company would be doing it and we would not have a problem. Someone suggested that it is only 30 seconds of your time to be searched. The plaintiff's must be talking about all the time you spend in line waiting your turn. So all you company defenders you keep being good little boys and girls and don't sass Mommy or Daddy and do as your told. And you will like it, you ungrateful wretched little cretons that are so so lucky to have a job.
  • Reply 15 of 85
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,896member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post



    I find it interesting that some comments on here are in defense of the employer. Why would anyone defend being viewed as a potential criminal, asked to prove to the employer that you are not, and on your own time, every time you leave your work area. Yes, theft is a huge problem for companies, so apparently searching employees does not work that well or every company would be doing it and we would not have a problem. Someone suggested that it is only 30 seconds of your time to be searched. The plaintiff's must be talking about all the time you spend in line waiting your turn. So all you company defenders you keep being good little boys and girls and don't sass Mommy or Daddy and do as your told. And you will like it, you ungrateful wretched little cretons that are so so lucky to have a job.



    Bag and person searches are common practice for retail and considering the value of the rather small products made by Apple, it's absurd for employees to not expect the same practice there.

     

    Class-action lawsuits are fishing expeditions. One or more disgruntled employees or comer employees hire a law firm and then "invitations" to join the suit are sent out to current and past employees. Every time I get class-action notifications in the mail attempting to sue someone, I throw that nonsense in the garbage.

     

    Also... "creton"? No.

  • Reply 16 of 85
    spicedspiced Posts: 94member
    If you aren't happy go for the next job, no body forces you to continue if you don't like the policy.....oh don't say you never use your working hours on things like making phone calls, never ending chit chat or gossips and social media-ing on your smart devices, take longer breaks and disappearing acts!!!
  • Reply 17 of 85
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member

    12,000 people are selling stuff out of their cars. 

     

    :D

  • Reply 18 of 85
    kent909kent909 Posts: 693member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by spiced View Post



    If you aren't happy go for the next job, no body forces you to continue if you don't like the policy.....oh don't say you never use your working hours on things like making phone calls, never ending chit chat or gossips and social media-ing on your smart devices, take longer breaks and disappearing acts!!!


     

    If you think this just comes down to company policy, then you are making the argument that there should be no labor laws. This is a perfectly legitimate pursuit. They want the interpretation of the  law reviewed and the courts will decide. It sounds to me that if they lose the case you will chastise the court for being bleeding liberal pinko socialist judges that should removed. If they rule in favor of Apple you will say they are great patriots. Since when are laws to be purely based on an a persons opinion and not based in current law and the interpretation of those laws. Regardless of how the court rules the legislature can pass new laws changing the outcome if they wish. So if you disagree with the process  I guess you don't like the way the government of the United States was set up to work. 

  • Reply 19 of 85
    zabazaba Posts: 226member
    There are a number of solutions to this, none of which involve lawyers.
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