Apple to pay retail workers $30 million over security bag checks

Apple Store logo
Apple Store logo (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has agreed to pay its workers some $29.9 million over bag checks.
  • Retail employees filed a class-action lawsuit in 2013 over the measures.
  • Lawyers have asked a judge to approve the settlement.

Apple has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit against the company by paying retail workers some $30 million over time they weren't paid for whilst undergoing security bag checks.

From Courthouse News:

Apple offered to pay $29.9 million to employees who claimed they were subjected to routine searches of their bags off the clock in a settlement proposal filed in federal court Friday."This is a significant, non-reversionary settlement reached after nearly eight years of hard-fought litigation," wrote Lee Shalov, plaintiff for the attorney, in the proposed settlement.

Apple was sued by employees in 2013, over claims that workers should be paid for the time they spent waiting to have their bags checked on lunch breaks or at the end of shifts. Apple was alleged to have violated California laws, with the company claiming checks were necessary to ensure products were not stolen from stores by employees. It had also claimed employees who didn't like the process should not bring a bag to work, or that they should leave their own iPhones at home. Previously in retail settings, Apple would issue workers with cards to verify the serial number of any Apple products they owned, this would be signed off by a store manager and then verified at the end of each day, checked against the device itself to ensure they matched.

The settlement would be the largest in a security search case in California and would bring an end to a fairly tumultuous case. The class represents 12,000 current and former Apple employees. California's Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye blasted Apple over claims employees didn't need to bring their iPhones to work, whilst advertising it as an "integrated and integral" part of the lives of everyone else. From the report:

Apple makes its employees comply with the bag search policy or face termination. Apple argued throughout the case that the policy is intermittent, only applies to a select group of employees and lasts only seconds.The chief justice also found Apple wielded control over its workers by forcing them to find a manager or security guard before they could leave the store for lunch breaks or shift endings. Workers also had to unzip or open compartments in their bags, follow the commands of bag searchers to move things around in their bags and allow their Apple devices to be removed, inspected and verified during searches.

The ruling should be retroactive according to the judge's opinion, meaning employees can receive pay for previously lost time. If the settlement is approved the represented employees could receive $1,200 each.

As we have previously reported Apple store employees have confirmed to iMore that Apple's bag checking policies are not a company-wide policy, and is usually left to the discretion of individual stores.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

2 Comments
  • Wow, working at an Apple Store would be no different then working in Communist China. I'd be ****** if I had to prove the iPhone I owned was my iPhone each and every day.
  • I don't have a super issue with ensuring employees aren't walking out with a new phone every few days, though I would suggest Apple is pretty selective in their hiring process in the first place. I also would think Apple could come up with a less intrusive/physical way of doing this. I can walk into an Apple store, pick something of a shelf, scan it with my phone, click Apple Pay and walk out. I've done that. I assume there is some process to ensure I clicked Apple Pay. Haven't tried not doing so personally. Seems like stealing. You'd think they could verify what was leaving, was not in the store inventory.
    Do agree that if you spend 15-20 minutes in 'security screening', that's on-the-clock time.