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

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 71
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,188member

    Employers could simply reclassify these workers as salaried exempt and then they'd be expected to work overtime, weekends, travel for weeks on end away from their families, spent copious amounts of their personal time staying current with regulations and technology that is pertinent to their profession - all for absolutely no overtime pay whatsoever. Woo hoo, welcome to the real working world.

     

    No matter what you do for a living, outside of government/civil service perhaps, there's always some kind of uncompensated overhead associated with doing your job or profession. You (really should!) have to take a shower, brush your teeth, and clothe yourself in something suitable for blending into society in a non offensive manner, or at least meeting your employer's expectations for personal appearance. This takes time out of your day and you aren't getting paid for it, at least on the clock direct compensation. This is just a personal-level cost of doing business in the working world. Get over it. Until you are "the man" and own your own business you are working for someone else and working for someone else means following their rules.

     

    It's only natural that people who work in professions that involve entering and/or existing through boundary checks would be expected to absorb this additional overhead time/cost associated with those jobs. This is no different than employees who work at very large factories, shipyards, etc., who have to walk extreme distances from where they park their cars or get on/off public transportation to the gate where they clock in. They don't get directly compensated for their 10 minute walks each way every day, it's just part of the overhead of the particular job they have voluntarily chosen to accept within the scope of a predetermined compensation package.

     

    It's sad to see actual Apple employees falling into the same money grubbing opportunistic pattern of "trolling for cash" that so many others have fallen into. There's something about seeing those huge piles of money in Apple's coffers that turns reasonable people into parasites. The fact that Apple earned all that money and assumed enormous risk in doing so seems to make little difference.

  • Reply 22 of 71
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DewMe View Post

     

    Employers could simply reclassify these workers as salaried exempt and then they'd be expected to work overtime, weekends, travel for weeks on end away from their families, spent copious amounts of their personal time staying current with regulations and technology that is pertinent to their profession - all for absolutely no overtime pay whatsoever. Woo hoo, welcome to the real working world.

     


     

    Not true.  The Department of Labor classifies every job in existence by whether it is "exempt" or "non-exempt" from overtime (and related) rules. Employers don't get to decide.  Obviously retail sales jobs are non-exempt (as are help desk staff, in case you're looking for a Genius Bar exception).

  • Reply 23 of 71
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    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.



    I suggest you read the actual opinion (link provided in the article).  It's clear that the issue that you're complaining about was specifically addressed by Congress with the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947.  This (like many cases) is not about the courts making the law, but them simply applying the law as written.  If you don't like the law, work to change it, but there is no reason to complain to the courts.

     

    Quote:
     


    Congress passed the Portal-to-Portal Act to respond to an economic emergency created by the broad judicial interpretation given to the [Fair Labor Standards Act's] undefined terms “work” and “workweek.” See 29 U. S. C.  §251(a) ... The Portal-to-Portal Act exempted employers from FLSA liability for claims based on “activities which are preliminary to or postliminary to” the performance of the principal activities that an employee is employed to perform. §254(a)(2). Under this Court’s precedents, the term “principal activities” includes all activities which are an “integral and indispensable part of the principal activities.” ... An activity is “integral and indispensable” if it is an intrinsic element of the employee’s principal activities and one with which the employee cannot dispense if he is to perform his principal activities. This Court has identified several activities that satisfy this test and Department of Labor regulations are consistent with this approach.





     

    The security screenings at issue are noncompensable postliminary activities. To begin with, the screenings were not the principal activities the employees were employed to perform—i.e., the workers were employed not to undergo security screenings but to retrieve products from warehouse shelves and package them for shipment. Nor were they “integral and indispensable” to those activities. This view is consistent with a 1951 Department of Labor opinion letter, which found noncompensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act both a preshift screening conducted for employee safety and a postshift search conducted to prevent employee theft. 



     

    In other words, the law says that activities that occur before or after the "principle activities" of the job for which the person was hired can be done before the employee clocks in.  There are decades of precedent where things like security checks are considered this type of preliminary (or "postliminary") activities as mentioned in the law.

     

    I agree that it's odd that the burden of security screenings falls strictly on the employee, but that's--apparently--how the law was written by Congress and applied by the Department of Labor.  But of course many things about employment law are odd (like the fact that you literally can't, for example, put your help desk people on salary and pay them $100,000 a year instead of tracking their time hourly).

  • Reply 24 of 71
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,146moderator
    davidw wrote: »
    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. 

    Excellent points, to which I'll add my experience from my time in the military. Every entrance gate of every military base is a security checkpoint. If you live off base, you must pass through this checkpoint on your way to work each day, and again upon returning to work if you leave the base for a lunch break or an appointment that occurs during your work hours. Now, military members are not paid hourly, so it would be a stretch for them to argue that they should be paid extra for time spent in line waiting to get through security, but many contract workers are paid hourly, and yet you don't hear about this issue by those working on military bases. Why? I suspect that these folks understand that the security checkpoint is simply an accepted part of their commute and not integrally related to their job function, as justice Thomas has indicated. Same goes for hourly workers at an airport, I suspect, and workers who do their work in any secured facility of any sort. You factor that time into your commute. If it's too much time for your liking, go get a job somewhere else.

    What's next, people will soon be demanding a discount off their airline ticket based upon the amount of their time spent in the security line when they arrive at the airport?
  • Reply 25 of 71
    ukbrooklyn wrote: »
    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.

    You are mistaken. If an employer requires a red shirt, it does not have to provide it nor pay for it as in the case of Target.

    Also, the court has ruled that if it does not have to pay for the extra time that it takes to get through security lines. I assume that this would apply to employees who might have to change into uniforms or walk long distances from parking lots.

    However, even though it is legal doesn't make it right.
  • Reply 26 of 71
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,187member
    davidw wrote: »
    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. 

    Excellent post. This shit would have sounded so bizarre a few years ago, but we've reached such a level of whining and entitlement in society that this kind of lawsuit is actually being justified by some. Bitching about 50-90 min a year? Jesus.
  • Reply 27 of 71
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member

    I used to work in retail and there was a time when the company indicated that employees should arrive 15 minutes before their shift in order to do things like familiarize themselves with the current sales ad and in a number of cases during store closing procedures it would be 15 minutes or more after then end of a shift before we were able to leave the building. The employees successfully argued that for any amount of time exceeding 15 minutes should be paid (overtime in the case of full time employees). They never enforced the arrive 15 minutes early - though did still have a policy that you should be ready to actually work when your shift started rather than clock in when you physically arrive then take 15 minutes to prepare before you where at a register or otherwise working. They did allow for overtime to be paid if you were not able to clock out and leave the building in less than 15 minutes after closing time. In some cases, the person responsible for closing the store had to let people out and then finish closing. Typical delays including things like last minute customers or problems reconciling the credit card transactions for the day (clerks would sometimes key in the amount wrong and you had to fix it before the batch processing was done for the day). 

     

    5 minutes a day would not bother me - and that is 21 hours if it happened every workday - if it were 15 minutes before and after every shift that is more like 130 hours in a year. 

     

    And what about days where they are 5 minutes late? does that get deducted from their pay? or are Apple employees never late? 

  • Reply 28 of 71
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,099member

    I worked at a facility that also had guard gates and once through the gates, it could take a lot of time just to reach my building. We could have long lines at the multiple guard gates as well as random car checks. Once inside, you still had to get to your building, which always took a different amount of time. Our work started when we got to our office, not when we arrived at the property line. Employees just needed to leave early to make sure they got to their desk on time, just like you learned when going to school. If you have to go through long security checks, there must be a reason for this. Previous employees must have stolen products so you're feeling the pain so just deal with it. Quit stopping for that overpriced coffee or just get up 10 minutes earlier and quit complaining. You have a job, deal with it.

  • Reply 29 of 71
    The ruling states that "the [screening] process was not 'integral and indispensable' to their jobs."

    Since "indispensable" means "required", that means the security checks are now optional.

    Otherwise, Justice Thomas lied in his own justification of his decision (he literally called something "optional" which is not "optional", disproving his own point).
  • Reply 30 of 71
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    Smart decision.

     

     

    On the contrary, SCOTUS' decision is headshake inducing. It's blatantly anti-worker. If a worker is forced to stay at work 15 extra minutes (in some cases) to wait for bag inspection, they are at work!!! Only if the employer is forced to pay them for this time is the employer incentivized to bag-check them in an efficient & prompt manner. Now that SCOTUS has said "We favor employers in each and every case," what is to stop the employer from telling the employee "We don't have anyone to screen you right now; we'll have someone in an hour; you have to wait until then before you can leave"? I'm serious. Where does it end? 

  • Reply 31 of 71
    jlanganki wrote: »
    The ruling states that "the [screening] process was not 'integral and indispensable' to their jobs."

    Since "indispensable" means "required", that means the security checks are now optional.

    Otherwise, Justice Thomas lied in his own justification of his decision (he literally called something "optional" which is not "optional", disproving his own point).

    Yes, but one's employment is also optional.
  • Reply 32 of 71
    ktappe wrote: »
    On the contrary, SCOTUS' decision is headshake inducing. It's blatantly anti-worker. If a worker is forced to stay at work 15 extra minutes (in some cases) to wait for bag inspection, they are at work!!! Only if the employer is forced to pay them for this time is the employer incentivized to bag-check them in an efficient & prompt manner. Now that SCOTUS has said "We favor employers in each and every case," what is to stop the employer from telling the employee "We don't have anyone to screen you right now; we'll have someone in an hour; you have to wait until then before you can leave"? I'm serious. Where does it end? 

    Please. The Entitlement Generation gets no sympathy from me.
  • Reply 33 of 71

    I don't consider getting paid to be at work an entitlement.  It's Apple's decision to either have their employees stand around in security checkpoints, stock shelves, help customers, etc.  It's an hourly job.  If they don't want to pay hourly, they can switch everyone to salary or commission as alternatives.  Apple made the decision to pay hourly wages.

     

    What if they decide to automatically clock out every employee when there are no customers in the store, and clock them back in when customers are present, but still require employees to be on the premises just in case a customer shows up.  Employees should not be entitled to any pay when there are no customers, right?

  • Reply 34 of 71
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,718member
    jlanganki wrote: »
    The ruling states that "the [screening] process was not 'integral and indispensable' to their jobs."

    Since "indispensable" means "required", that means the security checks are now optional.

    Otherwise, Justice Thomas lied in his own justification of his decision (he literally called something "optional" which is not "optional", disproving his own point).

    If you don't bring a bag, you don't get checked.
    ktappe wrote: »
    On the contrary, SCOTUS' decision is headshake inducing. It's blatantly anti-worker. If a worker is forced to stay at work 15 extra minutes (in some cases) to wait for bag inspection, they are at work!!! Only if the employer is forced to pay them for this time is the employer incentivized to bag-check them in an efficient & prompt manner. Now that SCOTUS has said "We favor employers in each and every case," what is to stop the employer from telling the employee "We don't have anyone to screen you right now; we'll have someone in an hour; you have to wait until then before you can leave"? I'm serious. Where does it end? 

    It was a unanimous decision including the most liberal members of the Court.
    jlanganki wrote: »
    I don't consider getting paid to be at work an entitlement.  It's Apple's decision to either have their employees stand around in security checkpoints, stock shelves, help customers, etc.  It's an hourly job.  If they don't want to pay hourly, they can switch everyone to salary or commission as alternatives.  Apple made the decision to pay hourly wages.

    How many of these same workers waste time socializing with each other or checking their phones while on the clock?
  • Reply 35 of 71
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post





    If you don't bring a bag, you don't get checked.

    It was a unanimous decision including the most liberal members of the Court.

    How many of these same workers waste time socializing with each other or checking their phones while on the clock?

     

    >> If you don't bring a bag, you don't get checked.

     

    If that's the case, this seems flawed since someone could stuff 20 iPhones into their coat pockets and walk out.

     

    >> It was a unanimous decision including the most liberal members of the Court.

     

    I guess this points to a problem with having enough balanced viewpoints on the Court to reach common sense decisions, which is another issue entirely.

    Also, this is the same Supreme Court that recently ruled that corporations are the same thing as people.

     

    >> How many of these same workers waste time socializing with each other or checking their phones while on the clock?

     

    Probably true, but outside the scope of the argument.

  • Reply 36 of 71
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,490member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

     

    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?




    He probably meant 50 to 90 minutes a week (10 to 15 minutes a day if the worker worked 5 days a week).  If 90 minutes a week and the worker was on the job 50 weeks per year, that's 75 hours or $18.67 per hour, which sounds about right.

     

    The question is, what's reasonable?   5 minutes a day, 10 minutes a day, 20 minutes a day?    My personal feeling is that once a worker is on premises and is ready for work within the worker's scheduled working hours, they should be compensated.   If the company puts something in their way that causes them not to be ready for work, like a bag check, that's the company's problem, not the employees'.     Obviously the Supreme Court didn't see it that way, but that was just a gift to corporate America.     

     

    Let's say a company had a mandatory security check both in and out and because they were too cheap to hire enough security employees, it took an hour each way.   That's two hours a day that you're not being paid for.    Why should the employee absorb that cost?   

  • Reply 37 of 71
    Man... Reading through these comments... A lot of you guys are out of touch. Like anything that goes against Apple is wrong JUST BECAUSE. Apple sometimes is in the wrong. I deal with this stuff everyday and my own employer recently changed the policy from one similar to apples to one like recommended here, where it's done ON THE CLOCK or not at all. And I for one think it's perfeftly fair (and I'm the one DOING the checks btw).

    And that's completely fair and all you guys saying Apple shouldnt have to do that its just whiny employees..... GEEZ. You're also the ones bitching about the GT advanced payouts I bet.
  • Reply 38 of 71
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,718member
    jlanganki wrote: »
    >> If you don't bring a bag, you don't get checked.

    If that's the case, this seems flawed since someone could stuff 20 iPhones into their coat pockets and walk out.

    >> It was a unanimous decision including the most liberal members of the Court.

     
    I guess this points to a problem with having enough balanced viewpoints on the Court to reach common sense decisions, which is another issue entirely.
    Also, this is the same Supreme Court that recently ruled that corporations are the same thing as people.

    1. Well they can't strip search you either so if you tape iPods to your legs, you can get away with that too.

    2. It is balanced: 4 liberals, 4 conservatives, 1 swing vote.
  • Reply 39 of 71
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    davidw wrote: »
    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
    No.
    It is 50-90 minutes of waiting to get searched every day they work (or over week if it's 10-15 minutes each time) one search when they leave for lunch and one when they go home.
    This is why the lawsuit was started.
    It's not 50-90 minutes total over a year.
    If it was simply 30 seconds a day, no one would have said anything.
  • Reply 40 of 71
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jlanganki View Post

     

    I don't consider getting paid to be at work an entitlement.  It's Apple's decision to either have their employees stand around in security checkpoints, stock shelves, help customers, etc.  It's an hourly job.  If they don't want to pay hourly, they can switch everyone to salary or commission as alternatives.  Apple made the decision to pay hourly wages.


    A company cannot decide to make people salaried on a whim. There are certain jobs that can be classified as exempt based on the Fair Labor Standards Act. All other jobs must be paid hourly and with overtime. Probably 80% of jobs in the USA must be paid as non-exempt. See http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm

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