Court orders Apple to pay employees for bag check hours worked

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

What you need to know

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ordered Apple to pay employees for time spent on bag checks.
  • Employees were required to clock out before going through the bag check screening process.
  • According to the suit, the wait caused up to an hour and a half of unpaid time per week.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that Apple must pay its retail workers for the time spent waiting for bag checks on days they are working a shift.

Reported by AppleInsider, the court reversed an earlier decision that ruled in the company's favor. The new opinion aligns with a previous ruling from the California Supreme Court, which said that employees are due compensation for the time they spend going through screening at work.

That decision, rendered on Wednesday in a unanimous opinion, aligns with a previous California Supreme Court ruling. In February, California's high court determined that the time employees spend being screened at the end of their workday is compensable. In its opinion Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit said that the U.S. District Court that presided over the original lawsuit, and handed Apple a victory, erred in its judgment. It added that the California Supreme Court's holding means that employees are now entitled to summary judgment on the issue of being compensated for the time.

According to the original lawsuit, Apple store employees were waiting upwards of an hour and a half per week to get through the screenings. The court ruled that, since these screenings were required and primarily for the company's benefit, employees are eligible for compensation for the time spent going through the process.

In its ruling in February, California's high court determined that the time waiting for exit checks was compensable under California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage, which requires that employees are compensated for all time when subject to the control of an employer. That's because the Supreme Court found that the exit searches were required, involved a significant degree of control, are enforced through the threat of discipline, and are imposed primarily for Apple's benefit.

The opinion says that "those purported disputed facts are irrelevant to whether time spent by class members waiting for and undergoing exit searches pursuant to the policy is compensable as 'hours worked' under California law."

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.