Lawsuit by Apple Retail Employees Over Off-the-Clock Bag Searches Dismissed

U.S. District Judge William Alsup today dismissed a lawsuit against Apple that had been brought by several retail employees over Apple's policy of conducting required security searches of personal bags without compensation after workers had clocked out for meal breaks or at the end of their shifts, reports Bloomberg. The class action lawsuit covered thousands of employees at Apple's California retail stores.

apple_store_iphone_6_bag

(Photo via Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke)

The ruling by a San Francisco federal judge Saturday releases the company from having to compensate as many [as] 12,400 former and current employees from 52 stores throughout the state a few dollars a day for time spent over a six-year period having their bags and Apple devices searched at meal breaks and after their shifts. A law professor who reviewed filings in the case estimated Apple could have been be on the hook for as much as $60 million, plus penalties.

In his ruling, Alsup noted that employees could have avoided the searches, as some employees did, by not bringing personal bags to work. The lawsuit had been restricted to California as the U.S. Supreme Court had previously ruled workers are not entitled to compensation for time spent in post-shift bag searches under federal law.

An attorney for the plaintiffs in the case reports they are weighing their potential next steps, which could include an appeal of Alsup's ruling.

Top Rated Comments

skinned66 Avatar
71 months ago
Sounds like Alsup doesn't bring lunch to work or remember what it's like to get paid by the hour anymore. He should have also noted in his ruling that quitting was an option and closed with a "neener neener."
Score: 69 Votes (Like | Disagree)
inkswamp Avatar
71 months ago
Absolute ********, Apple! Very disappointed in this. Makes me think Apple is a lousy employer for their retail staff.

In his ruling, Alsup noted that employees could have avoided the searches, as some employees did, by not bringing personal bags to work.
Which isn't realistic. People lead busy lives. It's not always possible to avoid bringing personal effects with you to work. Sometimes you have things to do after work and have to bring personal effects with you.

If an employer wants to make a bag search part of the routine, then they need to make sure it's done within the parameters of the employee's shift. Outside of that, they are infringing on the employee's personal time. My daughter worked at a very large retailer (who shall remain unnamed) while going to college and they would often times keep her 15-20 minutes after work unpaid waiting for a manager to get a free minute to check her bag before leaving. Expecting that of people is reasonable, but not compensating them for their time is not.

I hope the attorneys representing the employees have other ways to attack this. It's wrong and should be corrected.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
71 months ago
Sounds like Alsup doesn't bring lunch to work or remember what it's like to get paid by the hour anymore. He should have also noted in his ruling that quitting was an option and closed with a "neener neener."
Sounds like you not only haven't worked retail for the past several decades (if at all), but also didn't pay attention when the Supreme Court addressed this very issue recently as well and UNANIMOUSLY AGREED that people aren't entitled to get paid for this time.

Absolute ********, Apple! Very disappointed in this. Makes me think Apple is a lousy employer for their retail staff.
So Apple's a bad retailer for using the same procedures in their stores that every other retailer does?

Which isn't realistic. People lead busy lives. It's not always possible to avoid bringing personal effects with you to work. Sometimes you have things to do after work and have to bring personal effects with you.

If an employer wants to make a bag search part of the routine, then they need to make sure it's done within the parameters of the employee's shift. Outside of that, they are infringing on the employee's personal time. My daughter worked at a very large retailer (who shall remain unnamed) while going to college and they would often times keep her 15-20 minutes after work unpaid waiting for a manager to get a free minute to check her bag before leaving. Expecting that of people is reasonable, but not compensating them for their time is not.
So you want the store to pay your daughter more than the others who work there because she made plans after work which have absolutely nothing to do with the store's function or her job.

Why does your kid deserve more money because she chose to bring a personal bag into a retail workplace? Is she a princess or somehow special? Should everyone else ALSO stay on the clock and be forced to hang out to accommodate your daughter's time waiting because SHE decided that she just HAD to bring in her bag to accommodate HER plans?

Or even worse, why should your daughter basically get to stop working before the others on the shift and NOT do the work the entire time she is scheduled? Why should everyone else have to work their shifts end-to-end while your kid gets to stand in a line and NOT work for the 15-20 minutes? Oh yeah. Because it's a party or something and it's just that important.

No. You can either deal with it, or get another job. Same as everyone else in that industry. You don't need to bring that purse to work. Use your pocket, and if it's too much to handle, get a different job.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
C DM Avatar
71 months ago
Just leave your bag in your car :)
Everyone has a car or even drives?

The even simpler solution would be to just have your butler bring your lunch (with Grey Poupon of course) when it's time to eat.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
inkswamp Avatar
71 months ago
So Apple's a bad retailer for using the same procedures in their stores that every other retailer does?
Right because that's what I've come to love about Apple: that they do all the same stupid things that every other company does. Think different, alright.

So you want the store to pay your daughter more than the others who work there because she made plans after work which have absolutely nothing to do with the store's function or her job.
Didn't say that. I said they should get their crap together and do the bag search on their own time, before the end of the employee's shift.

Why does your kid deserve more money because she chose to bring a personal bag into a retail workplace? Is she a princess or somehow special? Should everyone else ALSO stay on the clock and be forced to hang out to accommodate your daughter's time waiting because SHE decided that she just HAD to bring in her bag to accommodate HER plans?
Wow, you get really aggressive about this? I take it you've never worked for an employer that makes these kinds of unreasonable demands or you have and were too weak to recognize that it's wrong. It's not about being special or deserving something special. It's about the company having demands but not wanting to pay for that. If they want to search bags, they need to do it on their own time. People have lives outside of work and an employer should take the fact that they employ human beings into account. Sometimes, people have to bring things to work. That's not unreasonable.

Or even worse, why should your daughter basically get to stop working before the others on the shift and NOT do the work the entire time she is scheduled? Why should everyone else have to work their shifts end-to-end while your kid gets to stand in a line and NOT work for the 15-20 minutes? Oh yeah. Because it's a party or something and it's just that important.
Yeah, you don't know what you're talking about. The employer should get their act together and either do the bag search immediately after the employee clocks off or shortly before. And clearly, you have no idea the pittance that retailers are paying nowadays. It's not like a company is losing tons of cash because an employee isn't working for a few minutes at the end of their shift.

No. You can either deal with it, or get another job. Same as everyone else in that industry. You don't need to bring that purse to work. Use your pocket, and if it's too much to handle, get a dii
Do you think a big, national retailers expecting their employees to wait around 15-20 minutes is reasonable?

The entire freakin' industry does it. And guess what? That doesn't make it right. In fact, I'm disappointed to hear that Apple is just fine following the herd and treating their employees the same, disrespectful way any other retailer does. They should be ashamed.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
the8thark Avatar
71 months ago
In his ruling, Alsup noted that employees could have avoided the searches, as some employees did, by not bringing personal bags to work.
I am sure on a judge's salary you can afford to eat out every day for lunch. But the low paid Apple store workers can't afford to do this and have to bring their lunch in a bag. Those overpaid judges just fail to understand this.

And before you ask, some people do not drive and use public transport to get to their job . . . or park their car in a place where it's not fiesable to run to it just to get your bag for your lunch.

Alsup is ruling based on the laws as any good judge would.
A good judge would deliver the right verdict, not just uphold a law without thinking first to see if said law is corrupt or not. Not every law in the nation that passed parliament is in the best interests of the nation. Even in Australia we have had a few laws pass our state parmiament here in Queensland that will severely hurt the business confidence and certain industries bottom line.

No. You can either deal with it, or get another job. Same as everyone else in that industry.
Or you use the court of appeal and hope you get a new judge who has enough sense to see the right things.

If you are paid by the hour, when you clock off you are on your time, free to go. Being forced to stay there off the clock is wrong. In Australia that kind of case would be shut down so fast it would be blinding. The employer would lose in a heartbeat. I've worked ni hospitality industries. And for me I did have a few bag checks at some places and all of them were on the clock. The only thing non on the clock was me getting dressed into my chef's whites. But I had to that at work jsut before I started as you just can not travel to work or home from work in your whites. That's just a no-no and ungygienic.

Only in the USA would employeers be able to enforce unpaid overtime on the per hour wage paid employees.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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