Ex-workers sue Apple, seek overtime for daily bag searches

SAN FRANCISCO Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:52pm EDT

An iPhone 5 is pictured on display at an Apple Store in Pasadena, California July 22, 2013.REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

An iPhone 5 is pictured on display at an Apple Store in Pasadena, California July 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Related Topics

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Two former Apple Inc employees have accused the iPhone maker in a lawsuit of subjecting hourly store workers to daily searches while they were off-the-clock, arguing they should be compensated.

The "screenings" or bag searches, designed to discourage theft, are conducted every time sales reps leave the store, including for meal breaks, the plaintiffs alleged in a lawsuit filed July 25 in a San Francisco federal court.

They are seeking unpaid wages, overtime compensation and other penalties related to what they say is a customary practice across Apple's U.S. showrooms. The two plaintiffs said they worked for Apple over a number of years, from California to Georgia and Florida.

Lawsuits from within Apple's ranks are rare, in part because the company is known to command loyalty amongst its workers. In 2011 however, a part-time employee at an Apple store in San Francisco sought to form a union to fight for better wages and benefits and to address what he called unfair practices within the company's showrooms.

Both plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status on behalf of every current and former Apple hourly employee, estimated in their lawsuit that they often waited in line for roughly 5 to 10 minutes or more before undergoing each check.

It's unclear whether the policy extends beyond Apple's home shores. The company has more 400 stores around the world.

"This work, done primarily for the employer's benefit, is time which Apple hourly employees should be, but are not compensated for, both straight hours and overtime hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week," the lawsuit read.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

The case in U.S. Northern District Court is Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle et al v Apple Inc, 3:13-cv-03451-EDL

(Editing by Michael Urquhart)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (10)
yark wrote:
Seems simple enough for Apple to fix. Place an RFID reader at the front of the store and track when employees enter and leave based on their badge. Pay them for their time in the store that fits within or contiguous to their normal working hours.

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezie.

Jul 31, 2013 9:45am EDT  --  Report as abuse
garnold37 wrote:
If these searches were conducted off the clock then the case is pretty cut and dry. Compensable time. Any required duty should be compensated. There is a simple fix for this, Apple can auto add five minutes to each punch out. I have seen this done in other companies. I don’t think Apple had malice in mind here, just hadn’t consider it. My question is why does it take a lawsuit to get ANYTHING done?

Jul 31, 2013 11:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Vavoom wrote:
If these employees are exempt from overtime then this is a frivolous lawsuit.

Jul 31, 2013 11:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.