Apple hit with $2 million verdict in Calif. retail employee rights class action suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2016
Apple has lost a class-action suit, that accused it of denying retail workers sufficient breaks, and paying final paychecks in some cases months too late and as a result, Apple must pay $2 million into a fund to pay for the lawyers, and compensate those wronged by its actions.




The $2 million ordered payment fund will dole out a maximum of $95 per worker, with the payouts likely to be less after legal fees are applied, and the 21,000-strong class members apply for the relief.

Apple was first accused of violating California's labor laws in 2011 by four employees who claimed the company did not provide adequate break time, meal time and paychecks on a timely basis.

Counsel asked for damages and restitution of all monies due to plaintiffs from unlawful business practices as pursuant to ten California Labor Code sections. As usual, interest accrued and applicable attorneys' fees were are sought.

Apple has yet to make a statement on the ruling.


Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,244member
    thousandonethousandtwothousandthree...there. Apple just made $2M in profit. 
    holyonemike1SpamSandwichpscooter63
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Apple probably spent this much paying their own lawyers who handled this for them, this crap shouldn't have gone to court waste of taxpayers money, but more worse waste of Apple's time, some one from Apple should have gone "ooh sorry about that how much do we owe you, oh that's it ? , hmm ok, here's 4M for you're trouble kids bye you're selves something nice, and we promise to rectify this ASAP, ok" end of story
    gatorguy
  • Reply 3 of 19
    jsmythe00 said:
    All that money and this is what they're accused for doing?!? Pay your damn employees!  I can understand if these cases were isolated accidents but to lose a class action means this was likely systemic.  Corporate greed has a stench all its own
    I suppose each department (also human resources) is under pressure to contribute to profits, so it seems they try to reduce salaries as much as possible and maximize final profits.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,398member
    I really don't get it.  It's hard to believe that Apple doesn't have an automated payroll system, just like everyone else.  The only thing I can think of is that local managers didn't enter the final hours for the final paycheck on time out of spite that the employee left.   And breaks?  Does California have a law that you have to have breaks?    I did once work for a retail chain in which you had to take a lunch break, but that was due to the union contract.   Some decades ago I actually got fired for not taking a break - I knew I wouldn't get paid for the hour, but the department was incredibly busy so I stayed and worked.  I thought I was doing the company a favor, but they used it as an excuse to let me go.


    longpath
  • Reply 5 of 19
    I was a part time employee at one of the first Apple Stores, 2001? I didn't get any benefits including breaks or lunch because they never gave me more than a four hour shift. We were all so stoked to be working for Apple that we didn't care. Those were the good old days when Apple was "beleaguered" and only true believer fans like me were hired. There are so many stores today that they have to hire people who are only looking for a paycheck and are not evangelists. We gave out free cold water from the Genius Bar refrigerator too. Gone are the days. 
    edited December 2016 ai46patchythepiratepscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 19
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,107member
    jsmythe00 said:
    All that money and this is what they're accused for doing?!? Pay your damn employees!  I can understand if these cases were isolated accidents but to lose a class action means this was likely systemic.  Corporate greed has a stench all its own
    It was FOUR cases, and once a class action got going others jumped in just to get some free money, cause why not?

    Also, for those ready to shit on Apple and Cook, this happened 5 YEARS ago, when he wasn't even CEO yet. 
    longpathpscooter63
  • Reply 7 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,943member
    Typical class action money grab for the lawyers with laughably tiny pittance pay outs for the supposedly aggrieved. Seems like a rather large amount of money in total to shell out for 4 pissed off former non-exempt employees who missed a snack break or had their happy meal delayed. The psychological damage to these poor souls must have been immense, but at least now they have $95 bucks five years later to spend on some much needed therapy, or an iTunes gift card. I don't want to sound callous or cruel but lower tier exempt employees are subjected to far greater "abuses" every day by employers, from having meetings routinely scheduled through lunch, breakfast and dinner time meetings, weekend work, massive uncompensated overtime, uncompensated travel time, and except in extremely rare cases - no organized representation whatsoever. Sure, on average exempt employees typically have higher salaries but the bulk of exempt workers are regular working class folk and not C-suite chair cushion polishers. Chances are that the managers of these "victimized" Apple retail workers missed out on most of their lunches, coffee breaks, and much of their family and home life every day of their working career in Apple retail. But being salaried and exempt they just had to suck it up, drag their butt home after their kids are asleep, eat cold leftovers, and prepare for the next day - not go running and crying to a lawyer. If salaried people have a grievance they are free to quit and look for a new job. While I don't condone employee abuse at any level and regardless of salary or wage, the grievances brought forth in this class action suit seem rather trivial from a global perspective - unless of course Apple corporate executives at the time explicitly sanctioned these actions and backed them with corporate policies. I have no doubt that the current leaders of Apple's retail operations are sticklers for following each and every nuance of each and every labor law and regulation and the exempt managers are tasked with spending as much time and effort as it takes to ensure everything is executed properly, even if they have to work 20 hours of uncompensated overtime every week to make sure it happens. 
    edited December 2016 longpathpatchythepiratepscooter63
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Those Apple employees wanting more and more, especially during these festive holidays.... /s
    As Eb Scrooge once asked, ".. And the union workhouses - are they still in operation?"
  • Reply 9 of 19
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,244member
    dewme said:
    Typical class action money grab for the lawyers... 
    ...stopped reading. Yeah, this is the damned laywers' fault.
    Those Apple employees wanting more and more, especially during these festive holidays.... /s
    As Eb Scrooge once asked, ".. And the union workhouses - are they still in operation?"
    Seems like maybe Apple could do something about the surplus population.

  • Reply 10 of 19
    Apple provides a 15-min paid break every 4-hour shift, a half-hour unpaid meal break on shifts 5.5 hours or longer up to 7 hours, and a 1-hour unpaid meal break on 8-hour shifts. They've been doing that for the past seven years at least (which is how long a close relative has worked in an Apple retail store).
    zimmermannmknelson
  • Reply 11 of 19
    masnick said:
    Apple provides a 15-min paid break every 4-hour shift, a half-hour unpaid meal break on shifts 5.5 hours or longer up to 7 hours, and a 1-hour unpaid meal break on 8-hour shifts. They've been doing that for the past seven years at least (which is how long a close relative has worked in an Apple retail store).
    Jeez, an unpaid meal break! What a country. Would be unheard of in Europe..
    And we have, everybody, healthcare.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 12 of 19
    I was a part time employee at one of the first Apple Stores, 2001? I didn't get any benefits including breaks or lunch because they never gave me more than a four hour shift. We were all so stoked to be working for Apple that we didn't care. Those were the good old days when Apple was "beleaguered" and only true believer fans like me were hired. There are so many stores today that they have to hire people who are only looking for a paycheck and are not evangelists. We gave out free cold water from the Genius Bar refrigerator too. Gone are the days. 
    You were given a 4-hour shift because of numerous business hostile regulations and because of the requirements from the Obama administration that full-time employees be given healthcare coverage and other mandatories which make full time employees unaffordable. Screw the Democrats and their union handlers who have put these regulations in place which end up costing jobs and crippling American businesses.
    Easy killer.  Damn Obama and his regulations in 2001...  
    larryapscooter63GeorgeBMacanthony pattonronn
  • Reply 13 of 19
    masnick said:
    Apple provides a 15-min paid break every 4-hour shift, a half-hour unpaid meal break on shifts 5.5 hours or longer up to 7 hours, and a 1-hour unpaid meal break on 8-hour shifts. They've been doing that for the past seven years at least (which is how long a close relative has worked in an Apple retail store).
    Jeez, an unpaid meal break! What a country. Would be unheard of in Europe..
    And we have, everybody, healthcare.
    I happen to have an unpaid meal break and I'm in Europe. though my contract is for 35 hours and funny enough I work it and only work more if it's a very urgent reason. work consistently excessive unpaid hours against your contract and you are an idiot. its also nice to know I can't be sacked for it. 
  • Reply 14 of 19
    zoetmb said:
    I really don't get it.  It's hard to believe that Apple doesn't have an automated payroll system, just like everyone else.  The only thing I can think of is that local managers didn't enter the final hours for the final paycheck on time out of spite that the employee left.   And breaks?  Does California have a law that you have to have breaks?    I did once work for a retail chain in which you had to take a lunch break, but that was due to the union contract.   Some decades ago I actually got fired for not taking a break - I knew I wouldn't get paid for the hour, but the department was incredibly busy so I stayed and worked.  I thought I was doing the company a favor, but they used it as an excuse to let me go.


    Yes, California does have laws regarding breaks. You get a 10 minute break for each 4 hours you work and a 30 minute lunch. Rest breaks are paid under California law. That applies to non-exempt employees. 
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 15 of 19
    i have friends that work at apple and some where there during all of this. across perhaps a dozen stores. They say that the paycheck thing might be bogus but the break thing kind of wasn't. The folks that filed the suit were apparently all Genius Bar employees and back then there was no systematic allowance for breaks. If you were 'on the bar' you were booked for 4 appointments every hour if you did Macs and 6 if you did the other stuff, every hour other than your paid meal break. And although the managers (this was in california) were legally required to let you take a paid break and legally required to make sure you took your lunch by certain deadlines, they were sloppy AF about it. Some of them could be rather shaming about folks wanting to take a paid break if the queues were running behind. 

    Now the system has breaks built in and managers are pushed not only take sure they are taken, its on time. Pushed to the point that if you don't take your break, managers make you feel like shit for wanting to skip it. Likely because of this very suit. 

    but for the record, this isn't really an Apple thing. I worked for Godiva for over a year and many shifts I was scheduled for as much as six hours by myself. I wasn't allowed to close the doors, wasn't supposed to leave the floor. my boss expected me to take no breaks or even a piss for my whole shift. when I got a clue about how illegal it was, I complained to HR but they did little about it since I was paid the whole time. So I quit. 
  • Reply 16 of 19
    larryalarrya Posts: 538member
    rhinotuff said:
    I was a part time employee at one of the first Apple Stores, 2001? I didn't get any benefits including breaks or lunch because they never gave me more than a four hour shift. We were all so stoked to be working for Apple that we didn't care. Those were the good old days when Apple was "beleaguered" and only true believer fans like me were hired. There are so many stores today that they have to hire people who are only looking for a paycheck and are not evangelists. We gave out free cold water from the Genius Bar refrigerator too. Gone are the days. 
    You were given a 4-hour shift because of numerous business hostile regulations and because of the requirements from the Obama administration that full-time employees be given healthcare coverage and other mandatories which make full time employees unaffordable. Screw the Democrats and their union handlers who have put these regulations in place which end up costing jobs and crippling American businesses.
    Easy killer.  Damn Obama and his regulations in 2001...  
    They had 8 years to change things for the better for American workers and businesses, but they made it all worse every single time.
    Giving people a fair wage and reasonable working conditions isn't "hostile to business".  As a customer having my screen replaced, or my lunch cooked sufficiently, or in many other situations, I would prefer someone help me whose quality of work isn't lowered by fatigue and hunger.  This keeps me as a customer, and paying a fair wage also makes more customers.  If you have to treat employees like slaves for your business to succeed, your business is doomed anyway.  
    pscooter63ronn
  • Reply 17 of 19
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,695member
    holyone said:
    Apple probably spent this much paying their own lawyers who handled this for them, this crap shouldn't have gone to court waste of taxpayers money, but more worse waste of Apple's time, some one from Apple should have gone "ooh sorry about that how much do we owe you, oh that's it ? , hmm ok, here's 4M for you're trouble kids bye you're selves something nice, and we promise to rectify this ASAP, ok" end of story
    Nope!   This was obviously wide spread in California.   Each state has its labor laws that an employer is obligated to follow, if Apple didn't this was the right course for the affected people to take.  

    Obviously somebody at Apple should have addressed this long before it became a class action lawsuit.   They didn't likely indicating corporate policy so apple must pay up.  

    It amazes me when people whin about the treatment of workers in China but ignore the horrors right here in the USA.   
  • Reply 18 of 19
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,695member

    dewme said:
    Typical class action money grab for the lawyers with laughably tiny pittance pay outs for the supposedly aggrieved. Seems like a rather large amount of money in total to shell out for 4 pissed off former non-exempt employees who missed a snack break or had their happy meal delayed. The psychological damage to these poor souls must have been immense, but at least now they have $95 bucks five years later to spend on some much needed therapy, or an iTunes gift card. I don't want to sound callous or cruel but lower tier exempt employees are subjected to far greater "abuses" every day by employers, from having meetings routinely scheduled through lunch, breakfast and dinner time meetings, weekend work, massive uncompensated overtime, uncompensated travel time, and except in extremely rare cases - no organized representation whatsoever. Sure, on average exempt employees typically have higher salaries but the bulk of exempt workers are regular working class folk and not C-suite chair cushion polishers. Chances are that the managers of these "victimized" Apple retail workers missed out on most of their lunches, coffee breaks, and much of their family and home life every day of their working career in Apple retail. But being salaried and exempt they just had to suck it up, drag their butt home after their kids are asleep, eat cold leftovers, and prepare for the next day - not go running and crying to a lawyer. If salaried people have a grievance they are free to quit and look for a new job. While I don't condone employee abuse at any level and regardless of salary or wage, the grievances brought forth in this class action suit seem rather trivial from a global perspective - unless of course Apple corporate executives at the time explicitly sanctioned these actions and backed them with corporate policies. I have no doubt that the current leaders of Apple's retail operations are sticklers for following each and every nuance of each and every labor law and regulation and the exempt managers are tasked with spending as much time and effort as it takes to ensure everything is executed properly, even if they have to work 20 hours of uncompensated overtime every week to make sure it happens. 
    Its rather simple obey the law!    If you dont like the law get it changed.   However having someone skip a lunch break is pretty pathetic and really shouldn't be tolerated.  By the way that includes exempt employees too.  
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