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March 8, 2021

Apple Must Compensate Employees in California for Post-Shift Bag Checks

A federal judge in California ruled that time spent by Apple employees completing bag checks after their shift is compensable work. On March 3, 2020, a U.S. Federal District Judge held that Apple is liable in a class action involving California retail store workers for time spent working off the clock undergoing back checks.
Home » News » Apple Must Compensate Employees in California for Post-Shift Bag Checks

Mon, 03/08/2021

A federal judge in California ruled that time spent by Apple employees completing bag checks after their shift is compensable work. On March 3, 2020, a U.S. Federal District Judge held that Apple is liable in a class action involving California retail store workers for time spent working off the clock undergoing back checks. The amount of damages will be determined by a jury. The Court will enter partial judgment in favor of the class that says, “at all material times” Apple was liable for compensating class members for waiting in lines and having their bags checked. Workers sued the tech giant claiming its policy requiring them to clock out before undergoing two daily bag checks violates overtime labor laws and led to roughly 90 minutes of unpaid work per week.

Under Federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Supreme Court held that time spent undergoing security screenings is NOT compensable. In that case, Amazon warehouse workers claimed security checks were compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

California law requires employers to pay employees a minimum wage for all “hours worked,” which includes time the employee “is subject to the control of an employer.” Apple, like many retailers, requires its employees to clock out before submitting to an exit search of bags and personal devices (such as iPhones), whenever they leave the worksite. Employees estimated that the searches typically last five to 20 minutes but could be as long as 45 minutes on a busy day. Apple employees are not paid for this time, and employees who refused the search are subject to discipline.

The Court determined that the searches “are required as a practical matter, occur at the workplace, involve a significant degree of control, are imposed primarily for Apple’s benefit, and are enforced through threat of discipline.” Thus, the Court concluded, “according to the ‘hours worked’ control clause, plaintiffs must be paid.”

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