Class-Action Status Given to Apple Wage and Hour Lawsuit


San Francisco, CA Plaintiffs in a California wage and hour lawsuit against Apple have had their class-action motion certified, after initially having the lawsuit dismissed. The main issue in the lawsuit is whether employees should be compensated for time spent waiting for security checks prior to leaving the job site. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 12,000 current and former Apple employees, who allege they should have been paid for that time.

The initial lawsuit - which was dismissed in 2014 after a Supreme Court decision in a different case - was refiled. It alleges that because the security check is for the sole benefit of Apple and is done in all Apple retail stores across the US, that employees should be paid. Typically, employees undergo security screening after they have clocked out for their meal break or at the end of the day, meaning any time spent waiting for a manager to be free to do a check is unpaid time.

According to the initial lawsuit, that time can add up. For an employee leaving twice during a shift, the wait can mean anywhere from 10 to 15 unpaid minutes. For full-time employees, that adds up to uncompensated overtime.

The lawsuit calls Apple’s conduct regarding the unpaid security checks “illegal and improper” and says employees throughout the US are owed millions of dollars in wages and overtime. Amanda Frlekin, a named plaintiff in the original lawsuit, recorded between 10 and 15 uncompensated minutes during every shift, adding up to between 50 and 90 minutes over the course of the week.

“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,” the lawsuit alleges. “Because such screening is designed to prevent and deter employee theft, a concern that stems from the nature of the employee’s work (specifically, their access to high value electronics and merchandise), the security checks and consequential wait time are necessary to the employee’s primary work as retail Specialists and done solely for Apple’s benefit.”

Workers are allegedly prohibited from leaving the store prior to a screening, and employees who refuse the security checks can face disciplinary action, including termination.

Apple has argued that the time spent undergoing bag checks is negligible and therefore should not be compensated. It also argues that not all managers conduct security screenings.

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