Apple's retail mistake just cost it $30 million

Inside the Apple Store in Knightsbridge, London
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple has begun to send checks to Apple Store employees who were part of a lawsuit based relating to bag checks that were carried out off the clock.

The lawsuit involved almost 15,000 employees in California who were forced to have their bags checked out of hours, so they weren't paid for their time.

Bad bag checks

The bag searches were carried out between July 25, 2009, and August 10, 2015, with Apple saying that they were necessary to ensure that no employee was stealing items from Apple Stores. It also said that anyone who didn't want to have their bag searched shouldn't take one to work, a suggestion that was simply not viable for plenty of people and for all kinds of reasons.

That was also Apple's claim when taken to court over the unpaid time, but it didn't work. Apple was later ordered to pay the employees for the time that they lost during the bag searches — sometimes it wasn't just the time of the actual search that was lost because they had to wait their turn, too.

The result of the lawsuit was a $30.5 million settlement, with Apple Store employees now reporting that they have begun to receive their share.

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It isn't immediately clear how Apple worked out who to pay and how much, however. Some people have already taken to Twitter to confirm that they have received as much as almost $1,000 despite having not been subject to bag checks while working for Apple. Apple's bag checking is not a company wide policy, and stores have some discretion over whether they carry out the checks. 

Others have similar stories, reports MacRumors, with some saying that they purposefully left their bags in their cars to avoid being subjected to the searches — yet they still received a payout.

What Apple Store employees do with their money is up to them, but Apple will no doubt hope that they treat themselves to a shiny new iPhone 14 or a similar product from their store. After all, the best iPhone is a free iPhone.

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.