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Apple has been ordered to pay retail teams for overtime accrued due to bag searches

Apple Store Seoul
Apple Store Seoul (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Some Apple retail teams have their bags searched when they leave shifts.
  • A Californian court has ruled employees should be paid for the time it takes.
  • This goes all the way back to 2013.

Apple has been ordered to pay its retail team members overtime for the time spent having their bags checked at the end of their shifts.

Not all stores operate a bag checking policy, according to a former Apple Store team member we've spoken with. But those that do will now be forced to pay overtime after the California Supreme Court made its decision in a case that dates back to 2013, according to a Bloomberg Law report.

If an employee works in a store that checks bags they are required to hand them over to a manager while the search takes place. In busy stores with many people finishing work at the same time, that can be a lengthy process. Currently, employees are not paid for that time, but that's going to have to change, at least in California.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye explained notes that Apple employees are still working for the company even though their shift has come to an end. And in California, all hours worked must be paid for.

"The exit searches burden Apple's employees by preventing them from leaving the premises with their personal belongings until they undergo an exit search—a process that can take five to 20 minutes to complete—and by compelling them to take specific movements and actions during the search," the unanimous court said."Under the circumstances of this case and the realities of ordinary, 21st century life, we find far-fetched and untenable Apple's claim that its bag-search policy can be justified as providing a benefit to its employees," the court said.

With the case having started in 2013, Apple could now have quite the hefty bill to pay.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.