Apple Stores labor policies reportedly targeted in class action suit

 Apple Stores labor policies reportedly targeted in class action suit

Apple retail stores are the target of a class action lawsuit that alleges that employees went uncompensated during long mandatory security searches according to Business Insider.

The allegations made in this lawsuit are similar to the ones made in a lawsuit filed by two former Apple Store employees in San Francisco federal court earlier this year. However, the current lawsuit is a class action lawsuit that seeks compensation for lost wages for all eligible employees, as well as various civil penalties for labor violations.

Apple presents a model of transparency in its overseas labor policies. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Source: Business Insider

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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There are 40 comments. Add yours.

stulaw11 says:

"“Plaintiff and other Hourly Employees were and are required to wait in line for security checks for at least 10-15 minutes each day before leaving for their meal breaks and at the end of their shift after they had already clocked out. This daily 10-15 minute uncompensated waiting time during security checks was done in order to undergo searches for possible contraband and/or pilferage of inventory.”

Besides being subjected to off-the-clock searches, the lawsuit also noted that employees often have to spend 15 minutes or more waiting in line each time they clock in. On launch days, this waiting period could last over 30 minutes."

Sad that in this economy people with good paying jobs still complain.

I get the 10-15 min of your own lunch, that should be on the clock time as federal law requires a 1 hour break. At the end of the day should not be paid. How is this different than if you work in a skyscraper and have to wait 10 min for the elevator to get to the ground floor? How about metal detectors going in the building? Should you be paid for that too? That's absurd.

Also lines to clock in are not paid time. You get there early to be ready to work AT the minute the shift starts. Waiting to clock in is not working that should be paid.

This is yet another ridiculous use of our legal system.

TheINTJ says:

Actually you're wrong on a few different fronts....on top of that you have no first hand knowledge.

Federal Law doesn't require employers to provide their employees breaks, it's actually State Law that does. And even at that not every state implements that law. Furthermore it's up to the individual states that implement it as to how much break/meal time is required per hour worked. So the notion that you get an hour lunch just because you work a shift is not necessarily true. In Washington State where I live, an employer is required by WA L & I to give a 30 lunch break if more than 5 hours are worked, and a paid 10 min rest for every 4 hours worked.

Employers aren't required to pay for the 30 meal break given they meet a few criteria: 1.) The employee must NOT BE REQUIRED to remain on duty. 2.) The employee must be free from any duties for their entire meal period......So lawfully, just the fact that Apple employees are REQUIRED to stay for a bag search after clocking out, even if it only takes 1 min, violates the requirement in order for Apple not to pay an employees for their lunch break in the State of WA....let alone waiting for up to 15 mins. Taking it a little further....If the 30 minute break must be paid for if the employee remains on duty, and it takes 15 mins to wait for a bag search, shouldn't now the other "free" 15 mins also be paid for since a 30 min break is what's required by law???

Now the part you have no knowledge of...

I used to work at an Apple Store myself, though it's been about 3 years since I did. Their clock system is all done via computer in the back...go figure lol. At any given time on a "regular day" there can be a group of people waiting to clock in or out. My store was small potatoes compared to some of the really big stores with a butt ton of employees and on a launch day it would still be hectic. So I can see how there would be a long wait to clock in or out at the bigger stores on a launch day. Especially since when I worked there the system was down half the damn time and when it was up it only seemed to work on one computer. So If a person's shift is scheduled to start at 6am and they're there on time to start, but it takes 15-30 mins to clock in, BUT they're still required to be there while they're waiting to clock in shouldn't that constitute as working? It's not like they can just leave the premises and come back 30 mins later once the line has died down right? I know this because I used to work there, there's no leaving while you're waiting for your chance to clock in once the time has passed for your shift to start.

Daniel Rubino says:

"Sad that in this economy people with good paying jobs still complain."

I think it's embarrassing that you're willing to look the other way on labor law because you think the economy is bad. First of all, who said the economy is bad? It's all relative. 9% unemployment is "bad" but 5% is golden? Yeah, screw those 5% who can't find jobs. Even more, I think we're lucky to have 9% when you compare us to Spain at 26%--our economy is actually quite good, at least I think so.

But that's the point--it's all relative. At what point do you think we should basically say "hey, this economy isn't so good, let's ditch established labor laws"? At what point do you (and evidently it's you) decide that ditching our rights in the name of beloved tech company is just dandy?

Don't count me in that bunch. Let the court decide if Apple violated labor law here (and my bet is they did and they will settle). And yes, employers should pay workers for their time to get searched. If it's required by your job, then you should be compensated for your time. You're not a slave (and please don't bring up the "well, derp, you can just quit!", that's not freedom).

On a personal note, I'm saddened to see so many people here just throw away their rights in the workplace for whatever reason. "Oooh, the economy is bad, let's let the companies run roughshod over us". Pathetic. We as humans should be demanding more not less from our employers. 

Etios says:

LOL, you are preaching about labor laws,rights on an Apple site. Do you expect apple fans to speak against their beloved company.

shemoanscazrex3 says:

If you're talking about what goes on in China that is not Apple. Foxconn makes xboxes, dells, even my first computer had a Foxconn motherboard

TheINTJ says:

@shemaonscazrex, Nobody is talking about China......

boobsandbacon says:

Wel he said conplaibing about labor laws on an apple site so that's the only thing I could think of

slyrobber1 says:

Try that with a lawyer and he'll have your sad ass in court. Also who made the state of the economy you find sad? The same ppl that try to rip off the small salaried employee. You've been unmasked Lamebaugh lemming.

" The more I know the monied class, the more I understand the Guillotine." GBS

richard451 says:

it's crazy that Apple treats their employees as criminals, and yes this lawsuit is ridiculous.

RichardWjr says:

It's not just Apple that does this. At almost every large retail chain, all employees get searched when they leave the building. Its not like a strip search or metal detector or something. Its more of, if you're carrying a bag the manager/team lead on duty has to search it.

TheINTJ says:

@RichardWjr

Two things: So what AND what's your point?

Do ALL other retail chains pay their employees for these searches or are they off the clock when these searches are required? Also, are these in states in which employers are required to give lunch breaks? The complaint by the employees here is not the type of search, so the fact that it's not a strip search or metal detector makes no difference whatsoever. Their complaint is that they are made to clock out and then wait for a search when they're not on the clock and not being paid.

I'm assuming you've never worked at an Apple Store like I have, but I can tell you that waiting for an available Manager at the busiest retail store in the world can be quite the wait. When you only have 30 mins to go grab a bite to eat OR are wanting to go home after busting your ass all day, that sucks.

RichardWjr says:

Well my point was a response to the person that said that apple treats it's employees like criminals with the searches, so I was just pointing out that a lot of places do that. I know that's not the complaint by the employees. I'm in no way defending apple in this situation. No I haven't worked for Apple, but I have worked in busy retail stores and I agree with you. Not sure where the attitude toward me is coming from but I was just replying to a part of what someone said.

TheINTJ says:

@RichardWjr

Sorry man, as an ex Apple Store employee this crap just hits close to home for me. Apologies if I came off too harsh. I LOVE Apple products, and even to this day I promote buying them to people in my circle, I've converted a lot of people and a lot of people look to me for advice on products....But it sucks ass in a lot of ways to work for them because of stuff like this. I just get upset because I see a lot of people call Apple employees Whiners, and in some cases that may be the true. But a lot of the employee complaints that i've seen on these sites post my employment with Apple, I absolutely understand and know to be true. Until a person has worked for Apple.....not just A or B retail store, they really have no clue what it's like. Working in a crazy busy, high demand, high expectation Apple Store environment is a lot different then say working at Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy or Frys for that matter.

Timelessblur says:

You are right this lawsuit is ridiculous. It is ridiculous that Apple broke labor laws so badly that it requires a law suit.

GlennRuss says:

When you work at a company that people are willing to pay big bucks to steal, it is expected to be searched. You do not get paid waiting to clock in. If that were the case, we all should sue for the time it takes us to drive to work. This is getting crazy.

Sent from the iMore App

TheINTJ says:

Driving to get to your place of work on time to start, and being at your place of work on time when your shift technically starts, but not being able to clock in are two totally different things.

Scenario: You're scheduled to start work at 8am and you showed up to clock in right at 8am, but there's a line of people ahead of you clocking in. It took until 8:30am for you to get to the clock. During that period of waiting you can't just leave and do whatever the hell you want until the line is gone because technically your shift has started already. Shouldn't you be paid for the time spent at your job waiting to clock in, from the time that your shift technically started if you were there??? Is it your fault as an employee that there isn't sufficient enough means for everyone to clock in in a timely fashion?

If your answer is to show up 30 mins earlier at 7:30am so you can clock in by 8am, then I would ask why the hell should a person have to give up more of their free time that they're not getting paid for!? The act of clocking in is work if you're not allowed any other option but to stay there and wait. And that is very much the Attitude at the Apple Store on launch days, nobody is going anywhere because it's mandatory all hands on deck.

nkak78 says:

Waste if tax payers money if u ask me...sad people.

Sent from the iMore App

Daniel Rubino says:

Put a dollar value on what you think this costs and you and I'll send you the money to compensate. But I'm going to have a tough time sending you $0.00001.

Compared to the defense industry and the useless wars we've waged, this is so tiny. Not to mention, this has actual repercussions in the workplace for workers, as opposed to endless wars.

benlee78 says:

I'm liking Daniel's conviction and openness in his statements here. I absolutely agree 100% with the amount of effort the government wastes on needless foreign affairs while it simultaneously squanders the freedoms and rights bestowed upon its people back at home.

On the main topic of this discussion, though, I would be more precise on what should be expected of Apple. I definitely think employees should not be required to clock out until after the searches are complete (that's for lunches and going home). Clocking in, however, should be on your own time. That being said, the company (even if it's not Apple) should be required to conduct its searches in a timely manner, never to exceed 15 minutes. If they are extra busy on launch days, then they should staff additional persons to assist with the searches.

Rob White says:

When you're the big dog of retail, & all other things newsworthy it seems, you get sued for damn near everything. Now employees are suing because they have to wait to clock in? As a small business owner myself I'm simply amazed at this revelation.

Hey Apple, I'm sure there are plenty of unemployed folks out here that would gladly wait in line for the chance to clock in at their job. Get the idea?

Timelessblur says:

It is your job as a business owner that your employees can check in a reasonable amount of time aka less than 5 mins.
If you want to search your employees. You do it on the clock. Even if it is 30 seconds you as the employer gave to pay them for it.

Rob White says:

Actually I don't use a time clock for my employees since it isn't necessary in my business. You show up for work or you don't get paid. Don't show a second day & I fire you. Simple as that. And I don't need to search my employees since theft isn't an issue. I have excellent security cameras for that purpose & every angle of my business is covered.

I'm referring to the claim that people are suing because they wait in line to clock in? Give me a break. The employee is responsible for getting to work on time. Leave earlier if you got a problem adhering to your schedule. I'm betting they get their pay checks on time from Apple don't they? Is it too much to ask they be there on time.

Timelessblur says:

And it is Apple's job to make sure employees can clock in quickly and easily. Something here Apple is failing at doing.
This law suit is about apple poor system of clocking in and then searches off the clock.

Apple is failing at holding up their end of the agreement. 5 mins to clock in should be ready absolute max it should take. As this show this is way over the max.
When I had to clock in. It took me the time it took to walk in the door to the other side of the building and then punchy number in. Generally 30 seconds max counting the Walking time. . Busy day at most had to wait behind 1 2 people. That might add and extra 15 seconds. I Apple failed there.
So much for your let's defend apple.

Rob White says:

Nice try but I'm not defending Apple. I'm simply pointing out employees have some responsibility of getting to work with enough time to get clocked in for their scheduled shift. Yes Apple has to make accommodations but that extends to the employee also. You make it sound like you had some undue hardship just getting to work.

Whine whine whine. And whether it pisses Daniel off above or not, just find another job if that one is such a burden.

Timelessblur says:

So taking 30 mins to clock in is responsible? Please explain how that is responsible.
I was being nice giving apple 5 minutes.
You are defending 30 clock in time.

Rob White says:

"So taking 30 mins to clock in is responsible?"

Did you even read what you wrote? That makes it sound even more like the employees can't get to work on time. How is Apple responsible for people not arriving on time to work so that they can be ready to fulfill the obligations I'm betting they get a nice hourly wage for? I want to see some video or some form of proof it takes this long for somebody to clock in at their job. Especially if they maybe say arrived on time to begin with? Yeah it's totally plausible that Apple stores are so crowded & full of people that not a single employee can get to the time clock & clock in. But somehow I doubt it. That isn't the kind of detail a huge multinational company like Apple would overlook.

No this is just more of the same lawyer class action hive mind b.s. that permeates our culture now. If something doesn't conform to our every want & desire we want to sue for some perceived harm. Now we have Apple retail employees that are so spoiled they believe they can just demand Apple compensate them for not clocking in on time? Riggghhhhtttttttt. No I'm betting my salary the vast majority of the complaints are from ones who can't seem to leave home on time & arrange to meet the obligations of their job & of course that is someone else's fault.

Or if they have some concrete proof Apple is negligent in their time clock policy I'm anxiously waiting to see it.

Timelessblur says:

I read what you wrote. To me it looks like you believe it is reasonable to have to up to 30 mins to clock in.
The fact that it is going to a class action and is approved for a class action tells us that there is clearly enough evidence that their is enough proof that Apple store employees regularly have to wait a while to clock in. 5 min clock in wait time is the max on the worse day.

Also you have not address the part of be subject to a search off the clock before they can leave.
Sorry that search should be on the clock regardless of if it take 1 second or 30 mins. Apple is requiring the employees to wait in the store to leave so Apple has to pay them.
Both of those are an issue. On the search part I want Apple to lose big time to force all companies that do this to shape up as it is clear a lot do it.

TheINTJ says:

@Rob White, Actually you are just wrong. And since you've self-admittedly never worked at an Apple Store and I have, I get why you don't understand this as much as you think you do.

First off, 30 minute or more clock in times are referring to LAUNCH DAYS....not normal work days. The other regular days are closer to 15 mins in a big store. The reason this little bit is so important to understand is that launch days are mandatory all hands on deck, and everyone is to show up at the same time...EVERY EMPLOYEE THAT WORKS AT THE STORE! So in a bigger Apple Store with a ton of employees, 30 mins or more can be VERY easily accomplished. It has nothing to do with being there on time, and everything to do with there not being a good implementation of making sure employees are at least just there. What Apple should've been doing on launch days is to have a manager just going around with a checklist really quick and checking people off that are at least present. Then later they can follow up in the system and retroactively give employees that were there their full hours. Furthermore as i've explained above, there are usually only a couple of computers working that employees can clock in on...often times just one in the case of my old store. This just compounds the issue. So now let me ask you, is ALL OF THIS the employees' fault??? Since they were there when they were asked to be there, shouldn't they should be paid accordingly?

2nd, you're saying that employees should arrive earlier AT WORK in order to wait 15 mins to clock in right when they're supposed to start? So you believe employees should give up even more of their free time, unpaid, in order to start right when they're scheduled to? Most people that have to clock in at a job show up in the realm of about 5 mins or less before they're officially scheduled to be there, and even with the act of waiting for 1 or 2 people they are able to clock in on time. that is very acceptable. But if you NEED to be at work 15 mins earlier than your officially scheduled shift waiting to clock in or risk being "late" in the system, that becomes a very gray area as it's now a requirement on your time. In my mind that is now part of your shift being that you have no other choice but to show up when you're officially scheduled to, but still lose hours because of poor implementation.

I understand that people have commutes and things like that, and I certainly don't believe they should be paid for that. If they have a commute it's because they choose to work however far away from their job that they do. However early they must leave their home in order to be at work as close to on time as possible is not the employers concern. But I'm specifically talking about time NEEDING to be spent AT your workplace in order to complete a shift.

quinn_drummer says:

I agree that if you are required to wait to be searched when clocking off then that should be paid time. Its seems unfortunate that both these searches, and clocking in are taking a long time to process.

Would it not be possible, to at least eliminate the clock in time by using the all new iBeacons tech? I assume that every Apple employee has an iPhone, or is not the majority do. Could iBeacons not automatically ping your device when you enter the store thus allowing you to clock in, and visa versa when you leave. All that is required then is the security search.

vox212 says:

People should be paid for the time spent on the security check, but not for clocking out. I'm sure Apple will be streamlining this process better.

Good OL MC says:

I don't know about anyone else but if I'm told to clock in at 9 and leave by 5 to get my 40 hours, I show up on time, and then I'm made to wait up to a half hour each time before I can get paid I'm going to be a little irritated. Instead of 40 or 30 hours that's 37 1/2 or 27 1/2.

TheINTJ says:

Exactly!! A lot of people aren't thinking about this in a personal manner. Instead their love for Apple's products have blinded them to it's business practice. I love Apple products as much as the next guy, but not so much that I believe that it's okay to do employees wrong.

Kaiju says:

Another sad, pathetic representation of the modern-day American worker. When I was a bit younger, I worked for American Eagle. They had (and probably still do) the same exact policies as Apple when it comes to clocking in, leaving shifts, etc. Probably every other retailer under the sun practices this exact thing as well. It NEVER crossed my mind as a problem. I was never offended, or annoyed or pissed, or thought I should get paid for this. These people have absolutely no reason or right to get paid while waiting. Are they going to demand that Apple (or whatever other company) pays for their time while they sit in traffic getting to the job? Are they going to contact the state because they were 15 minutes late to their job because of a traffic jam? This is the SAME principle! If they don't want to be checked, don't bring in a bag! It takes seconds to go through a coat. It's THEIR fault if everyone is getting held up in a line waiting to get checked out to ensure they didn't steal anything. Let's be real too. IF this does happen (clock in) they may be missing $2 (15 min at $0.18/min) at the most. BUT, they also have to clock-out for the night, so they would have to assume there is a wait for that as well (since the same people clocking in should also be clocking out)... so their lost money was just gained back.

I hope to god this lawsuit crumbles. It's absolutely absurd. Not like I would fully expect this to fail from a court in California though. Shame on Americans for their pettiness.

Also -- why did it never cross anyone's mind to just talk to Apple? I'm sure with enough complaints the situation would have been reviewed. But no... let's take the American entitlement mentality direction and just sue their asses.

Timelessblur says:

Boy it is sad how much people like you do not get it. I can promise you if and when apple loses the case those checks will gop from taking up to 30 mins to down to less than 5 mins max. Other companies would follow suit.
The check is not the issue. It is to fact they are not getting paid. The bag excuse sorry fallen under reasonable not to take in. A solution that Apple and other can do is build a room with lockers and say all personal belongs must be in the lockers . Solves problem.
It is the employers job.

Kaiju says:

Yeah - and how much you want to bet Apple was never contacted about this "issue" by any significant amount of people and this is just some yuppy lawyer looking to make a buck.

Timelessblur says:

I can bet good money there was a bunch of bitching about it. Apple ignored it completely. I bet someone went to a lawyer over it and yes that lawyer saw an easy win.
Now to get enough money out of it then yes it had to be class action.

It is wrong on many levels. Apple as the employer it is their job to pay their employees while they are stuck at the job. Many suck it up and debt with it because it was a pay check but does not make it right.
I want Apple to lose and lose big on this one. Not because it is apple but because this practice is badly abused as you kindly pointed out. Apple should be made an example out of because it will make waves and get the entire industry to shape up some.

Kaiju says:

There is no reason for someone to get paid walking out the door. They are not doing anything to benefit the company at that point. I mean seriously -- where does THAT stop? At what point does it no longer become 'the company's' problem? Is someone going to say it's the company's fault when they are stuck in traffic for an hour because the company requires them to be at the office at a particular time? No. This lawsuit is absurd and the people that eat it up are equally absurd.

Timelessblur says:

Are they require to be there? If waiting for o be search yes so therefore it is the companies problem.
The line is the door to enter the company. After they cross that line it is the companies issue.
Since they can nor leave apple property and have to wait an unreasonable amount of time to o clock in then Apple has an issue.
The searches of employees should be done on the clock no matter if it takes 30 seconds or 3 hours.