Class action lawsuit against Apple over retail employee bag searches is dismissed

By midian182
Nov 9, 2015
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  1. Apple has defeated a class action lawsuit brought against it by employees of the company’s retail stores who were seeking back pay for time spent during mandatory daily security searches.

    The decision, from US district Judge William Alsup in San Francisco, releases Apple from having to compensate more than 12,000 former and current employees at 52 stores throughout California for time spent over a six-year period waiting to have their bags and Apple devices searched when they went on breaks and at the end of their shifts. It’s thought that if Apple had lost the case, the company could have ended up paying out as much as $60 million, plus penalties.

    Plaintiffs Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle alleged that "screenings", or bag searches, designed to discourage theft, are conducted every time sales reps leave the store, including for meal breaks, according to Reuters.

    Judge Alsup said in his ruling that workers were free to choose not to bring a bag to work, and thus would avoid the delays that came with a search. No Apple employee filed court papers asserting a special need to bring a bag, Alsup wrote. "Rather than prohibiting employees from bringing bags and personal Apple devices into the store altogether, Apple took a milder approach to theft prevention and offered its employees the option to bring bags and personal Apple devices into a store subject to the condition that such items must be searched when they leave the store.”

    The employees said that freedom to bring a bag to work was a "standard freedom." Apple argued last month that "put simply, if a class member voluntarily chooses to bring a duffle bag full of playing cards to work, purely for personal convenience, California law does not require Apple to pay that Class Member if Apple elects to search that duffle bag pursuant to its bag and technology check policies."

    In July, Alsup granted class-action statues to the lawsuit, which was filed in 2013 by two former workers from Apple stores in New York and Los Angeles. The pair claimed that employees at Apple’s physical locations were required to stand in line up to 30 minutes at a time while waiting for store managers to check their bags to ensure they weren’t stealing items from the store. The employees said that these waiting times deprived them of many hours of unpaid wages, totaling about $1500 a year.

    “Plaintiffs are disappointed in the court’s ruling and are exploring their options, including an appeal,” Lee Shalov, a lawyer for the workers, said in an email.

    Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that Amazon employees would not be compensated for the time they spent in security check lines. The court said that screenings were part of employees’ jobs and benefitted the company.

    Apple has not commented on the ruling.

    Permalink to story.

  2. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 1,828   +881

    This is why I don't buy from apple. They do make good products but their business practices disgust me to the point where I won't even consider buying something from them.

    They treat their employees like criminals before they've even committed a crime, this has to be a humans rights violation.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,341   +1,939

    If you search the judges briefcase you're most like gonna find an iPad in it. If you shake him down you're probably going to find an iPhone in his pocket and a Plus model in his sock. If you strip search him it's most likely there'll be a big Apple logo tattooed on his butt if you can eyeball Apples payroll, don't be surprised to see his name on it.
    H3llion likes this.
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,374   +2,165

    Apple is getting a bad rap here. Being subject to search is a part of any retail job. It's right there in the consent forms.

    I once worked a retail gig where an employee managed to make off with several thousand dollars of small-dollar (less than $100 per item) merchandise over a period of weeks. This was with medium to large items, not small electronics. My point is, Apple is doing what it has every right to do: protect its property.

    If workers have a problem with this, they shouldn't be accepting the job offers.
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,142   +482

    I don't think the search itself is really the issue. I think the issue that the plaintiff is making, is that they want to be considered on the clock while being searched. Which I can agree with the plaintiff on that issue and I don't blame Apple for wanting to search when an employee is leaving the store. I also understand the need for women to bring a bag to work and I don't think anyone could argue with that. My only suggestion would be bring a smaller bag.
  6. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 633   +163

    There is no such thing as a honest person, screening at big stores is common sense. Show up with a wallet and phone only and I'm pretty sure the search will be quick and painless.

    One thing that bothers me is why they needed their personal phones checked, was it to see the contents of the phone or that it was not swapped out with a new model?
  7. TVPMike

    TVPMike TS Rookie

    The retail store I used to work at had the option to search any bags you left the store with, but the search was random and periodic. Checking every single day is a bit more intensive, and if you read the article where employees said that sometimes they had to wait up to 30 minutes... This should definitely be a paid practice for Apple.

    And no offense, but "Apple is getting a bad rap here" seems to casually ignore all the other sketchy things that Apple has done to its employees over the past few years to save money.
    Reehahs likes this.
  8. RustyTech

    RustyTech TS Guru Posts: 819   +385

    I think they search phones to make sure it's Apple only phones; Android not allowed ;)
    mailpup likes this.
  9. Linkinworm

    Linkinworm TS Rookie

    I have to be searched at work aswell, it takes like 10 seconds before and at the end of my shift, is this really such a massive issue in america.... need to chill.
  10. ealltech

    ealltech TS Rookie

    I think they search phones to make sure it's Apple only phones; Android not allowed

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