Apple accused of dodging fair pay in class action lawsuit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Often said to work its employees to the bone, Apple is now the subject of a class action lawsuit that claims it deliberately misclassified technicians to avoid paying for overtime and supplying fair working hours.



Filed early this week by former Apple network engineer David Walsh in a San Diego court, the 40-page suit claims that Apple knowingly violated California's Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission requirements by "systematically" misclassifying Walsh and fellow technicians as management.



The simple creation of a management-like title for workers such as Walsh lets Apple call on them as much as it likes without having to pay overtime rates, according to the complaint, even though the actual roles consist of nothing more than installing and maintaining networks. Walsh during his 12-year tenure not only had no authority over where he could go but explicitly had to receive permission from the true executives and site staff.



Apple has allegedly created hundreds of seemingly unique positions that are actually subtle variants on the same role, making it difficult for employees to take action and demand better pay or working conditions. Those with purportedly advanced titles have ultimately done the same work as those with more ordinary positions.



"One such example is placing the descriptor 'Senior' before the title 'Network Engineer,' when in fact all such Network Engineers perform the same work," Walsh's attorneys at Blumenthal & Nordrehaug claim.



The conditions themselves were especially rough, the complaint notes. While officially scheduled for eight hours of work per day, he would often be told to maintain the network "well into the night" and was on call at all times of the day, with many calls arriving after 11PM or on weekends. In many cases, Walsh not only had to avoid leisure that couldn't usually afford interruption, such as watching a movie, but in many cases had to put off essential tasks such as seeing a doctor or even having a meal.



Walsh, who is seeking class action status through his suit, wants Apple not only to properly classify network engineers but to pay compensation to those who missed out on overtime pay -- including the equivalent of two hours' pay for each full day of work where a technician wasn't given time for a meal.



Apple seldom comments on lawsuits in progress and has remained silent on Walsh's dispute.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Oh give me a break - welcome to the United States. If you're salary you should consider yourself lucky if you EVER get a chance to get OT. That's just standard practice now-a-days. I've got a number of friends who are on call 24/7 and not a single one of them gets OT (and yes, they've been called in at God awful hours). He/she shouldn't be suing Apple - they should be suing the US Gov't for allowing for so-called "exempt" (aka "salary") positions to be exempt from the OT laws.



    It sucks, yes, and that particular employees working conditions sucked, yes. However, no one ever forced them to work at Apple and this is how companies look at it - if you don't like your job because we don't pay you OT we can certainly find someone who will...
  • Reply 2 of 90
    trackertracker Posts: 34member
    Guess we will see what happens.
  • Reply 3 of 90
    Um, why didn't you quit?



    I wish my office had better snacks in the snack machine but I wouldn't sue them over it. You want OT? Work an hourly job! As a network engineer you make well into middle 6 figures, this isn't an $8 an hour guy begging for his OT.



    Douche.
  • Reply 4 of 90
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by adammull View Post


    Um, why didn't you quit?



    I wish my office had better snacks in the snack machine but I wouldn't sue them over it. You want OT? Work an hourly job! As a network engineer you make well into middle 6 figures, this isn't an $8 an hour guy begging for his OT.



    Douche.



    More than likely they would say "I didn't want to quit - I just wanted "fair" pay."



    Now if you ask me "fair pay" is a completely nebulous term - what he/she considers fair pay may be exorbitant pay to someone else. Much like CEO compensation - a lot of them call it fair - I call it absurd...
  • Reply 5 of 90
    lafelafe Posts: 252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by adammull View Post


    Um, why didn't you quit?




    He is quitting! His severance pay will be the undisclosed amount

    he gets to settle this suit quietly and go away.
  • Reply 6 of 90
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by adammull View Post


    Um, why didn't you quit?



    I wish my office had better snacks in the snack machine but I wouldn't sue them over it. You want OT? Work an hourly job! As a network engineer you make well into middle 6 figures, this isn't an $8 an hour guy begging for his OT.



    Douche.



    As I've said before, people who begin their posts with "um" invariably turn out to be idiots.



    Douche.
  • Reply 7 of 90
    dogcowdogcow Posts: 713member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lafe View Post


    He is quitting! His severance pay will be the undisclosed amount

    he gets to settle this suit quietly and go away.



    After 12 years.... [http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/1...ervitude.aspx]



    Could someone have gotten the wrath of Jobs after the rocky launch of MobileMe?
  • Reply 8 of 90
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    However, no one ever forced them to work at Apple and this is how companies look at it - if you don't like your job because we don't pay you OT we can certainly find someone who will...



  • Reply 9 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wilco View Post


    As I've said before, people who begin their posts with "um" invariably turn out to be idiots.



    Douche.



    I think "um" is an excellent literary device to show stupidity in an argument, especially this one where some guy is making several hundred thousand a year and complains because he has to work weekends.



    Um, douche.
  • Reply 10 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wilco View Post






    Apparently you're a moron who makes ridiculous money who thinks this suit as a valid one. Good luck rewriting American salary law.
  • Reply 11 of 90
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    How come everyone is making this guy the villain out of hand? Even if labor practices in the US generally are abusive and suck, why does that make it in any way acceptable? Apple is a big employer, a big corporation and just because we love most things Apple the company should not be above criticism. Anyone who takes a stand against unfair labour practices gets my vote. Individuals fighting for a decent living wage against a corporation flush with cash should get support, given that their claims are legitimate, which as I think most people know, they usually are. If Apple is screwing its employees they should be taken to task. This is not a dumbass patent claim.
  • Reply 12 of 90
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Ok -- Lets stay on topic and abstain from insulting one another. We're all here (at least most of us) because we appreciate Apple and its products. Apple management is a different story, and obviously peoples' opinions of how the company operates will vary. We can address each others opinions, but please do it politely.



    Thanks,



    Kasper
  • Reply 13 of 90
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Steve Jobs is Kathy Lee Gifford!
  • Reply 14 of 90
    so true.



    this is what corporate america does. i've seen, i've been in it. good for him for sueing. these corporations will bleed you dry, bending the law.
  • Reply 15 of 90
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Too bad my company isn't in California, too. We'd have have about 1000 people who could file a lawsuit!



    However he was classified is mostly irrelevant. If he was paid an annual salary (as opposed to an hourly wage) and he accepted that as terms of his employment then that's the agreement both sides need to abide by. He was apparently accepting of those terms for 12 years.



    There are pros and cons of being a salaried (exempt) vs hourly (non-exempt) employee. You have a guaranteed salary (not subject to the number of hours you may or may not work) in exchange for being expected to be flexible in your hours (including working over 40 hours/week).



    Then again, I'm not in California; and they've got some pretty funky laws in that state!
  • Reply 16 of 90
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    How come everyone is making this guy the villain out of hand? Even if labor practices in the US generally are abusive and suck, why does that make it in any way acceptable? Apple is a big employer, a big corporation and just because we love most things Apple the company should not be above criticism. Anyone who takes a stand against unfair labour practices gets my vote. Individuals fighting for a decent living wage against a corporation flush with cash should get support, given that their claims are legitimate, which as I think most people know, they usually are. If Apple is screwing its employees they should be taken to task. This is not a dumbass patent claim.



    Haven't you figured it out yet?



    If someone sues Apple, Apple is in the right.



    If Apple sues someone, Apple is in the right.



  • Reply 17 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    How come everyone is making this guy the villain out of hand? Even if labor practices in the US generally are abusive and suck, why does that make it in any way acceptable? Apple is a big employer, a big corporation and just because we love most things Apple the company should not be above criticism. Anyone who takes a stand against unfair labour practices gets my vote. Individuals fighting for a decent living wage against a corporation flush with cash should get support, given that their claims are legitimate, which as I think most people know, they usually are. If Apple is screwing its employees they should be taken to task. This is not a dumbass patent claim.



    Well said.
  • Reply 18 of 90
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by voodooru View Post


    so true.



    this is what corporate america does. i've seen, i've been in it. good for him for sueing. these corporations will bleed you dry, bending the law.



    As long as he can show that Apple did it deliberately to skirt the law, suing is appropriate. But so far, in this story and a few others I've read on this, everything they list is well-known and common practice (ie, not something done in secret with malicious intent). If they are illegal, there are many more companies than Apple the need to be sued.



    For example, putting "Senior" in front of a job title is common when you've reached a certain tenor or move from one salaried pay grade to another (still as a salaried vs hourly worker). Pay grades also typically have large overlap, so the fact the two people in different pay grades are doing the same work is again not uncommon.



    So he may have a case, but if all they've got is what's been in the press so far, it's going to be quite a stretch.
  • Reply 19 of 90
    brendonbrendon Posts: 642member
    The way I read the article, he is saying that Apple had non-exempt positions. Apple decided that the OT the techs were getting was too much so they reclassified their positions or promoted them into "senior" positions. Those positions were essentially the same positions just without OT, which, if true and found guilty, would be a violation of Fair Pay Law. The complaint would hinge on the word Systematic, it would be different if he hired into a position that was exempt. If the title of the position was changed only to make the position exempt that would be a possible law suit.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    Oh give me a break - welcome to the United States. If you're salary you should consider yourself lucky if you EVER get a chance to get OT. That's just standard practice now-a-days. I've got a number of friends who are on call 24/7 and not a single one of them gets OT (and yes, they've been called in at God awful hours). He/she shouldn't be suing Apple - they should be suing the US Gov't for allowing for so-called "exempt" (aka "salary") positions to be exempt from the OT laws.



    It sucks, yes, and that particular employees working conditions sucked, yes. However, no one ever forced them to work at Apple and this is how companies look at it - if you don't like your job because we don't pay you OT we can certainly find someone who will...



  • Reply 20 of 90
    zinfellazinfella Posts: 877member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    How come everyone is making this guy the villain out of hand? Even if labor practices in the US generally are abusive and suck, why does that make it in any way acceptable? Apple is a big employer, a big corporation and just because we love most things Apple the company should not be above criticism. Anyone who takes a stand against unfair labour practices gets my vote. Individuals fighting for a decent living wage against a corporation flush with cash should get support, given that their claims are legitimate, which as I think most people know, they usually are. If Apple is screwing its employees they should be taken to task. This is not a dumbass patent claim.





    Thank you, comrade!
Sign In or Register to comment.