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

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 85
    titantigertitantiger Posts: 300member
    I don't have a problem with them doing regular searches (though it's probably terrible for morale). I do have a problem with keeping people for a hour a week without pay.

    Pay people for the time.
  • Reply 42 of 85
    raptoroo7raptoroo7 Posts: 140member
    I have to take Apple's side on this one. In my youth (many, many years ago) retailers checked bags of employees as they left work, its to stop "shrink", theft, stealing, etc. Sorry but you get paid pretty well to work "retail" job and if you have to take a few minutes out of your day then leave your bag in the car or better yet at home.

    If they don't like the hassle, then wait for NYS to raise the minimum wage for Fast Food workers to $15 over the next few years and they can go work there.
  • Reply 43 of 85
    I worked at a defense contractor where national security is an issue and they didn't have such a stringent policy.

    The original HP under Bill and Dave used to let employees take home expensive test equipment and free parts to tinker with.
  • Reply 44 of 85
    razormaidrazormaid Posts: 299member
    linkman wrote: »
    No earrings, underwear, shoes, rings, medicines, personal hygiene products, car keys, glasses, contacts, hair accessories, socks, pants, shirts, skirts, bandages, medical implants/devices, or necklaces unless they belong to Apple. Employees are expected to walk into the store naked and then don Apple-provided gear. Lockers might be available outside the store at employee expense.
    I think the big complaint is that employees have to wait on a manager to come and inspect. The actual inspection doesn't take long. A manager isn't always immediately available. 

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/06/10/apple-store-employees-complained-directly-to-tim-cook-over-bag-search-policy
    "which led to unpaid wait times between 10 and 15 minutes at the end of every shift."

    I have to partially side with the employees. If Apple takes too long, the employee should be compensated or allowed to leave without a search. Some people need to bring a bag. I bring my lunch with me to work everyday with reusable containers. Going out to eat for every meal or snack simply isn't an option for everyone. It gets cost-prohibitive, especially for the lower paid retail employees.
  • Reply 45 of 85
    I am unclear what the lawsuit is about:
    Unpaid overtime or "being treated like criminals"?
    Their motivation(s) seem crafted.
  • Reply 46 of 85
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mikethemartian View Post



    I worked at a defense contractor where national security is an issue and they didn't have such a stringent policy.



    The original HP under Bill and Dave used to let employees take home expensive test equipment and free parts to tinker with.



    There generally wasn't a huge market for oscilloscopes back then.

  • Reply 47 of 85
    zonezone Posts: 71member

    Ok I worked in Apple retail for many years (more than most) so I know what I am talking about when it comes to Apple retail. I also have many years managing loss prevention at a major retailer in a former life so I have a unique and qualified view of this situation.

     

    First of all the store I worked at had almost NO employee theft! That's right in the years I worked there we had almost none (external theft was unusually low as well and I think its because of how Apple customers think of Apple as family). This is unheard of in retail! Ask anyone who has a first hand experience like I have. In most retail business, restaurants, bars ect. employees will steal you blind if you let them.

     

    I can only comment on my store but one of the reasons people didn't steal was because they believed in Apple. The treated the store like it was theirs or someone store who they really cared about personally. You don't steal from you own family do you? I was a family when I came to how the employees felt about Apple as a company. However like most retail situations the management is and was a different story and tried hard to fit in but they were well management right.

     

    For those who are not in the inner circle Apple internal propaganda machine is well crafted and will make almost anyone carry the banner off to war so to speak. Apple internal videos are ever bit as high production that you see externally on TV and in print. They fire up the troops for new product releases and quarterly meeting ect. They are so good they can make you jump and say heck ya and want to a sell millions of iPhones personally or even cry do the awesomeness that is Apple. No one does it better!

     

    Here is the issue and the real reason for the law suit. Its all about peoples time.

     

    Since you MUST be check out by a manager before leaving the store for any reason or be fired for not follow this policy (yes people at my store were fire for leaving the store and not being check out). Keep in mind this was being done AFTER the employee was clock out so for those who don't know what that means here it mean you were not being paid. This was part of your job and it was required, you were waiting to complete a policy set by the employer while not being paid. There is no law I am aware of that lets an employer conduct a security check WITHOUT you being paid. What I mean is most people are not checked at work so it abnormal to do so in most business. Most people work for small business and don't think they have security? So this is a unique situation and Apple has the right to do but MUST PAY PEOPLE since its their policy that they want to do this, take on the responsibility, staff and execute the policy. 

     

    I think some of you posting FIRE THEM ALL or think this is a stupid law suit has never once worked for someone were you must clock in and out to be paid for each and ever minute and never have to subject yourself to a search before leaving work. When work is over and you just leave... if you stay or talk to someone, go to the bathroom that on your time and its your choice BUT you can just leave. Your paid not matter what you do and in fact I bet most of you leave early and still paid the same amount (interestingly are you stealing from your employee when you do that?) How would you feel waiting around a busy Apple store to be check out. FYI this could take forever during the holidays or a store who's management didn't run a tight ship.

     

    I find it disgusting that you want to Fire these hard working people who help you so much when you come to the Apple store. These Apple employees work hard to give you good service and all they want is to be compensated for their time from one of the richest companies on the planet. 

     

    If it take you on average 5 minutes to locate a manager, have them search all your devices by serial number (have you ever tried to read the serial numbers on Apple devices? OMG so small) on the floor or find one in the back or house lets do the math. Conservatively just checking in twice a day, 1 for lunch and 1 to leave for the day (remember their off the clock and not being paid) 

     

    10 minutes a day 

    50 minutes a week

    200 minutes a month 

    2400 minutes a year = 40 hours a year of 1 week of vacation 

     

    Average employee makes $12.50 and hour so 500 a year on average but some make like genius and creatives make a lot more. Multiple this by the number of employees which is lets say 22,000 about when this was all going down if its not still happening and that $11,000,000 a year that Apple is not paying its employees. This might be a low figure and keep in mind this is one year. When you add it all up this could be a $100,000,000 figure that owed to employees. Not so small of an issue after all is it.

     

    For anyone who is paid a salary you have no right to comment. For those who say if you don't like it leave is cruel because not everyone is as smart as you and graduated from Harvard and gets paid big bucks. Where would you be without that hard working Apple employee who helps you when you come to the store. 

     

    Apple's employees are awesome and should be paid for their time. Its that simple and Tim should stand up and do the right thing. He is quick to defend things that are closed to his heart but what about the overworked and underpaid employees within the company he runs? He needs to be like that guy from that company Gravity who gave every employee a big raise. Wave his magic wand and backpay everyone. Its the right thing to do and the lawyers want get a dime!!! (yes this was long and I am sure I didn't spell everything correctly and perfect grammar is an issue so give me a break)

  • Reply 48 of 85
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    jungmark wrote: »
    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.

    Hmm no...

    Have you ever worked Retail? Better yet, have you ever worked a "crappy" retail job like Walmart or BestBuy?

    I'll tell you straight up that BestBuy's policy is pretty much identical to Apple's. Anything over 100$, and someone will come screaming at you to show a receipt. You know what's also interesting, they also keep a whole bunch of WANTED posters of serial-shoplifters in the back rooms.

    Any perceived "waste" of time socializing is simply that. For every minute you see two employees talking to each other, I can practically assure you there was an hour somewhere on that employees shift that week where they went above and beyond to deal with a horrible (-insert racist and/or sexist statements here-) customer who wasted their time and ultimately bought nothing. I won't name which, but two ethnicities specific to my area are extremely horrible about trying to barter when you just don't do that with "superstores"

    In the case of "bag searches", it's likely again, some racist or sexist undertones that made such employees want to file a class action lawsuit, because it was robbing them of time. In a sense, they were being forced to take unpaid overtime to sit around and be searched. "big retail" is absolutely horrible about making staff sit around for unpaid overtime.

    If a "bag search" is part of policy then you pay them for it, otherwise, build an off-site locker room, and tell the staff to not ever the Apple Store with anything but their company-issued iphone.
  • Reply 49 of 85
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mikethemartian View Post



    I worked at a defense contractor where national security is an issue and they didn't have such a stringent policy.

     

    If you read about real life espionage, they never immediately arrest somebody when they find out they're a spy. They can track down handlers, other spies, and feed false information to the enemy. They have much better (and expensive) ways of watching you than a retail store does.

     

    Also, Apple can't execute you or lock you up for life like the Government can.

  • Reply 50 of 85
    cyndercynder Posts: 6member
    And this has all happened before.
    In 2013 Amazon was sued over contract Employee Security Checks and it was ruled that Amazon need not pay workers for time to process security searches. That security screenings were not integral to their job duties.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/business/supreme-court-rules-against-worker-pay-for-security-screenings.html
  • Reply 51 of 85
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,073member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post





    This either says Apple's lawyers are not very good at making a case for dismissal, or the judge saw something different in the case that was not covered by the SC decision.

     

    The judge did not rule on the merit of the case. Only that it has class action status. 

  • Reply 52 of 85
    bradipaobradipao Posts: 145member
    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.

    Probaly searches are common practice in your country. Is theft so common?

    In my country it is a nonsense: you perform accurate selection of personnel, you train them to do their best to sell your stuff, you give them responsibility to literally build your profits... but you cannot trust them.
  • Reply 53 of 85
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,073member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by linkman View Post

     

    I have to partially side with the employees. If Apple takes too long, the employee should be compensated or allowed to leave without a search. Some people need to bring a bag. I bring my lunch with me to work everyday with reusable containers. Going out to eat for every meal or snack simply isn't an option for everyone. It gets cost-prohibitive, especially for the lower paid retail employees.


     

    It's not whether you need to bring a bag or not, that matters. What matters is if the bag you bring is required for your job. And by job, FLSA means the work that you were hired to do, not your job in general. If the bag contains tools that are needed to perform the job you were hired to do, then the search of such bag is on the employers time. If the bag contains your lunch or a change of clothes for after work or make-up or anything else that is not require to do the job you were hired to do,  then the search of such bag is on the employees time.  This has been clear since they passed the FLSA in 1938 and re-defined in 1947 with the Portal to Portal Act. 

     

    You can argue all you want about how Apple requires the search and therefore it's part of your job requirement. But that's not how FLSA looks at it. And the courts have ruled the same way sine 1947 …….. searches after the clocking out is not part of your job, even if the employers requires it. Recently, the US Supreme Court rule unanimously for Amazon, on such a case, based on the 1937 FLSA and Portal to Portal Act of 1947. 

     

    It is no different than if you work in an auto plant and have to clock in/out at the end of the building and therefore have to walk the length of a football field when you enter the building to clock in or exit the building after clocking out. Or you work on the 20th floor and it's a 10 minute elevator ride before and after clocking in/out. You can argue that you were forced to remain in your employer's building longer the needed and therefore should be paid overtime for the time it takes you to exit the building. But FLSA say no. Travel time before clocking in and after clocking out is not an integral part of the job you were hired for and therefore it's not compensatable time under FLSA. So the employers do not have to place time clocks at the exit so all employees can clock in/out as soon as they enter or leave the building. And the time it takes to search personal bags that are not or contain anything that are an integral part of your job, is not compensatable under FLSA and therefore employers are not required to do the search on the clock.  

     

    Apple can not lose based on FLSA. No other employers, that have ever been sued for this, has ever lost such a case. The only way for Apple to lose is to change FLSA law. But that's not what this case is about. The judges have to make a ruling based on present FLSA laws, they can not change the law itself. That would require an act of Congress. And if by chance the lower courts rule for the employees, it will be appealed to the US Supreme Court, where all the judges have already favored the employers in cases like this. 

     

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/business/supreme-court-rules-against-worker-pay-for-security-screenings.html?_r=0

  • Reply 54 of 85
    helicoilhelicoil Posts: 27member



    @kent909  Agreed, what kind of donkey thinks it's ok for your employer to treat you like a criminal.

  • Reply 55 of 85
    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.



    They are buying into the myth of the infallible god-like Job Creator.  

  • Reply 56 of 85
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,654member
    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.




    While I agree that Apple should pay the employees for their time going through the bag search, the employees will probably once again lose in court - didn't some higher court already rule on this?   And as others have posted, even when such lawsuits are successful, the employees get next to nothing and the lawyers get to keep all the money.   I gets tons of legal notices over stock lawsuits and if you get anything, it usually winds up being something like 6 cents a share - not worth my time to fill out the forms.  The lawyers wind up with $200 million.   

     

    Having said that, we're in the minority - most people here think that if the employees don't like it, they should go find another job and/or don't bring bags to work, but I think many on here are extremely mean-spirited and have little appreciation as to what it means to work for a relatively low hourly wage, even if they themselves have done so at some point in their lives. 

     

    Overall shrinkage in U.S. retail is the lowest it's been in 24 years.    According to reports, overall shrinkage constitutes 1.4% of retail sales and internal theft constitutes 34.5% of that (38% is shoplifting, 16.5% is administrative and paperwork issues, 6.8% is vendor fraud and 6.1% is unknown although I don't know in these statistics where they include damaged goods).    That means that employee theft constitutes .483% of retail sales:  $4.83 per $1000.   I suspect the rate at Apple is lower due to the fact that there's a relatively small variety of products, it's almost all hard goods and inventory controls are probably pretty strong.    So the question is whether it's worth harassing your employees to stop that level (or lower) of theft.    If I were Apple, I'd probably institute the search only in the retail locations that experience a shrinkage rate over a certain hurdle.     It seems to me that especially in an operation like Apple retail, where stock of computers, Pads, Pods, phones and watches are only kept "in the back", it should be a relatively easy manner to control inventory.   Or, in future Apple stores, you design the employee area so it's isolated from any stock access.   You check the employees before they get to the area where they store their bags.   That should take far less time and be less of an intrusion.   

     

    I worked in electronics retail decades ago.   We were never checked for anything, although they did place an undercover security guy in our department to see if anyone was stealing anything.   We knew he must be security by his second day on the job as he didn't know anything about audio and he couldn't make a sale.   Not that anyone was stealing anything anyway.   

  • Reply 57 of 85
    ktappektappe Posts: 824member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    Fire them all.

     

    As expected, the anti-worker, pro-big-business types are out in force. It really is sad that you all side with those who make the rules and not those are subject to them. What happened to this country? We used to band together for good, but now employees are somehow all demonized for "being greedy" whereas corporations are sainted for "being profitable". But they're the same thing. You are all worker bees yourselves. Why are you so quick to cast stones at your fellow workers???

     

    Are you all so myopic you can't see that what goes around comes around? At some point you will all be taken advantage of by your employers, and you're going to want other workers to stand up for you. But since you advocated they all be fired, good luck when that happens. 

  • Reply 58 of 85
    ktappektappe Posts: 824member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

     

     if you get anything, it usually winds up being something like 6 cents a share - not worth my time to fill out the forms.  The lawyers wind up with $200 million.


     

    You all seem to be missing the bigger point; to stop the practice from happening in the future. It's not about past losses but preventing future loss and making employers treat their employees better. 

  • Reply 59 of 85
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,654member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

     

     

    You all seem to be missing the bigger point; to stop the practice from happening in the future. It's not about past losses but preventing future loss and making employers treat their employees better. 




    Fair enough, but if I was an employee who felt ripped-off by the practice and I joined the class-action lawsuit and I wound up with a check for $18 and the lawyers got $millions, I'd be pretty pissed.    But I still think this lawsuit will get thrown out, based on prior court rulings.   While I disagree with the practice as I've noted in previous posts, there are for more egregious practices out there (not at Apple):  employees not getting paid overtime wages, employers forcing employees to be freelancers when they're really employees, part-time employees not being given advance notice of their schedules; employees being called to work, then being sent home if the store isn't busy; employees sometimes not even receiving minimum wage, sexual harassment, etc. 

  • Reply 60 of 85
    ronnronn Posts: 665member

    Many years ago (probably before some of you were probably even born) I worked at a high-end retailer. They decided to open a men's shop directly across the street. Before a large team went across the street, we asked that the time-clock be placed right beside the security department before everyone left the employee entrance. This made bag checks quick, simple, and dignified as it was away from customers.

     

    All the attention to detail that Apple pays to its stores is pointless if they can't institute a bag check policy that is both dignified and quick. Why must only the store manager check bags? Are there not enough supervisors and security personnel? They should settle this case as soon as possible for the sake of employee morale. While they're likely to win, it's a losing proposition if employees are made to feel cheated of pay and dignity.

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