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  • Apple Retail Employees File Lawsuit over Lost Wages during Employee Bag Searches


    A group of former Apple retail employees have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple for lost wages. The lawsuit stems from an Apple retail policy that requires employees to have their personal bags and purses inspected by managers before leaving the store for beaks, lunches and a the end of a shift. The lawsuit alleges that employees are made to wait, off the clock, for as long as 5 to 15 minutes per shift while waiting for a manager to inspect their belongings for stolen property. The policy is in effect at all Apple Retail stores and could potentially affect thousands of employees going back more than 10 years.

    The lawsuit states the following:

    Apple has engaged and continues to engage in illegal and improper wage practices that have deprived Apple Hourly Employees throughout the United States of millions of dollars in wages and overtime compensation. These practices include requiring Apple Hourly Employees to wait in line and undergo two off-the-clock security bags searches and clearance checks when they leave for their meal breaks and after they have clocked out at the end of their shifts.

    These "personal package and bag searches" are done for the sole benefit of Apple; are a uniform practice and policy in all Apple retail stores nationwide; and are not imposed on Apple's customers. This illegal practice and policy has been known to the Defendant for years and Apple continues to require Apple Hourly Employees to endure these required but uncompensated security checks. For this reason, Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and other Apple Hourly Employees to recover unpaid wages, overtime compensation, penalties, interest, injunctive relief, damages and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.
    The suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages and accuses the Cupertino California company of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as other state labor laws. Those of you who are interested I n reading the initial filing for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California can do so by hitting the Scribd source link below.

    Source: GigaOm, Scribd
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Retail Employees File Lawsuit over Lost Wages during Employee Bag Searches started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. killakill's Avatar
      killakill -
      I assume you meant before leaving the store for breaks, not beaks.
    1. slim.jim's Avatar
      slim.jim -
      I have witnessed many of these bag checks while in an Apple store and they took less than 5 seconds. Anything to get a buck I guess.
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by slim.jim View Post
      I have witnessed many of these bag checks while in an Apple store and they took less than 5 seconds. Anything to get a buck I guess.
      It's not how long they take to perform from start to finish but how long they have to stand around off the clock while waiting to be checked. Managers are often busy managing other things and can't just leave a customer with an issue to check an employee.

      I've performed thousands of these bag checks.
    1. Carvensno's Avatar
      Carvensno -
      Quote Originally Posted by slim.jim View Post
      I have witnessed many of these bag checks while in an Apple store and they took less than 5 seconds. Anything to get a buck I guess.
      Well they do say FORMER employee's LOL. Who knows if these are people who were fired or quit for certain reasons. Guys shouldn't have a problem and if women would just bring a small purse or bag, should be less of a problem then. But i have also worked at places that required bag checks and screening. No biggy as you said above like 5 sec or maybe a minute at the most LOL.
    1. dsg's Avatar
      dsg -
      It's just plain wrong

      Apple have some faith in your employees or build some robots that do their jobs
    1. jOnGarrett's Avatar
      jOnGarrett -
      Banks don't check employees and they have millions in cash in some banks but people get checked TWICE over an iPod!!!
    1. AmadeusKaelPyralis's Avatar
      AmadeusKaelPyralis -
      I agree that the principle is the problem. I've drudged long and hard over employee rights and employer responsibilities. It's a never-ending battle which I still fight today.

      Apple shows a complete lack of faith for employees by doing this, not just doing it... but upwards of twice or more per day. And the fact they have to wait in line to get it done is simply degrading. Like a prison chain gang. Just have the employees walk through the door barcode detectors like everyone else. If they are stealing it will go off. Seems a LOT easier than the alternative here, which is now involving a lost wages suit. The employees are right, if Apple is forcing them to do it off shift they owe compensation. As far as work is concerned you are paid while on company time doing things for the company, this security check falls under that. The minute that shift is over the employee owes nothing more to the company, and should be unhindered in leaving/acting like a normal person again.
    1. kalpesh78's Avatar
      kalpesh78 -
      Quote Originally Posted by dsg View Post
      It's just plain wrong

      Apple have some faith in your employees or build some robots that do their jobs
      you said it. If it were robots apple or any other company doesn't have to do this. Because its 'people' checks have to be maintained.
      In todays day-and-age everyone wants to make a quick buck. If people were so trustworthy we would never have security cameras nor guards at the store front.
    1. slim.jim's Avatar
      slim.jim -
      Quote Originally Posted by jOnGarrett View Post
      Banks don't check employees and they have millions in cash in some banks but people get checked TWICE over an iPod!!!
      Employees don't have access to the cash like that. They have access to a cash drawer which is counted at the end of their shift. Apple can't take inventory every time someone goes to lunch.
    1. itsjustlenny's Avatar
      itsjustlenny -
      It's not only apple. Most retailers do bag checks and for a good reason. Having faith in their employee isn't the issue. Retailers just don't do things without probable cause. And believe me over 45% of the theft in stores are done by employees. Having faith on employees cost companies millions.
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      You have to have faith in your work force. If your workers feel they are not trusted or appreciated, they usually start to act untrusted and unappreciated. Seems like the employees are being punished before any crime. Good for Apple bad for moral.
    1. itsjustlenny's Avatar
      itsjustlenny -
      Quote Originally Posted by bigboyz View Post
      You have to have faith in your work force. If your workers feel they are not trusted or appreciated, they usually start to act untrusted and unappreciated. Seems like the employees are being punished before any crime. Good for Apple bad for moral.
      If you aren't stealing then you have nothing to fear right? Most employees are ok with getting bag checked since they've got nothing to hide. And I'm not sure if you've gone into an apple store but the moral there seem like its doing quite well.
    1. vietkool's Avatar
      vietkool -
      Let say if someone really hate you, they can pick up an ipod or charger or waterver belong to Apple and put into your locker or purse, bag then you're be ****.ed when the shift ended.
      I know someone got charged thousand of $$ because she didn't pay for 1 item that was in her bag when she was in a store and kids playing and throw in there.
    1. filabeaner's Avatar
      filabeaner -
      If you're an employee and you don't like it, then don't bring a bag or anything that would need to be checked before leaving. Problem solved! Give me something harder to solve...
    1. mr117's Avatar
      mr117 -
      Jewelry stores (even jewelry counter in places like Macy's) have the employees do counts of stock 3-4 times a day. A Movado store near me does that, and has closed-circuit cameras as well to monitor, and not just the customers.

      The issue isn't the searching, the issue is the time it takes and from who's pocket that time is taken. If Apple wants to search its staff, fine. But the staff should be off the clock when said searches occur.
    1. stayupthetree's Avatar
      stayupthetree -
      The employees will win this law suit based on precedent alone. I was a manager of a restaurant/retail store. At the end of the night we had to lock the doors so no one could come in also out(because employees had let people in who they thought were ok and the stores ended up getting robbed). So employees could not leave without a manager letting them leave. Well in the early days of this the employees would be waiting around off the clock. If the company mandates that the employee must wait for a bag check to leave, then that becomes part of the employment and they must be paid. Apple wont notice a significant change in profit from this.
    1. Carvensno's Avatar
      Carvensno -
      As i said above these are FORMER employees that could have been fired or quit for certain reasons and looking to cause issues for Apple LOL. Pretty sure Apple has done there homework and they deal with bigger issues in court. Just think of all the rules they have to go by and follow? They have Federal, State, and local City laws they have to follow just to open and run a store.
    1. holyshnikes's Avatar
      holyshnikes -
      I may be missing something here...but I would think that in the contract they signed to become an employee for Apple it mentioned bag checks at the end of shift and or lunch break. End of case right there. If you didn't want your bags checked, then don't apply for the job. I'm so sick of everyone's entitlement.
    1. cmwade77's Avatar
      cmwade77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by stayupthetree View Post
      The employees will win this law suit based on precedent alone. I was a manager of a restaurant/retail store. At the end of the night we had to lock the doors so no one could come in also out(because employees had let people in who they thought were ok and the stores ended up getting robbed). So employees could not leave without a manager letting them leave. Well in the early days of this the employees would be waiting around off the clock. If the company mandates that the employee must wait for a bag check to leave, then that becomes part of the employment and they must be paid. Apple wont notice a significant change in profit from this.
      Costco had a similar policy to this and got sued and lost as a result. Bottom line is it's not the time for the search it's self, it's the time waiting for the manager. The courts have all come down quite clearly on this, so it surprises me that any company is still requiring the searches be on personal time. There actually will be a hefty fine for Apple doing this, added to back pay and in some states that may mean additional pay for part of the paycheck "being late". Bottom line is that no matter what any "contract" may say, the law requires these checks to take place on company time and the contract cannot change the law.

      Now, the other question, which the courts seem to have been split on is if the searches are illegal in the first place.
    1. Raptor2213's Avatar
      Raptor2213 -
      Someone should do the same thing for Fry's Electronics. Employees that close are required to wait, off the clock, for ~10 min every night for the alarm to arm and are not allowed to leave the property until it arms.