updated 05:51 pm EDT, Mon July 29, 2013
Claim that searches, bag checks are done off-the-clock
A group of former retail employees of Apple Stores in Los Angeles and New York have filed a class-action suit against Apple, saying that the company demands employees submit to extensive anti-theft searches and other security measures, but doesn't pay them for the time involved. The security checks, which happen whenever an employee leaves the store, take 10 or 15 minutes according to the claim filed, adding up to millions of dollars in uncompensated employee time -- possibly as much as $1,400 per employee per year.
The suit itself notes that the searches are "integral" and "indispensible" to Apple's security and loss-control goals, but have an issue with not being compensated for the time required for the checks, which are deducted from "uncompensated meal breaks." The lawsuit requests estimated unpaid wages as well as unpaid overtime, along with having a court declare uncompensated security checks illegal.
The suit is seeking certification as a class-action status on behalf of all Apple retail employees who worked or are working at Apple Stores within three years of the filing, who were not compensated for off-the-clock time enduring security screenings or not compensated overtime for the screenings if they were already over forty hours. Many other retailers do similar security checks of employees, though its not clear what percentage of those businesses compensate employees for the accrued "lost" time doing so. At least some of the companies keep employees on-the-clock until the searches are completed, however.
The case was filed in Apple's home judicial area, the Northern District of California on July 25. The plaintiffs, named as Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle, are seeking a jury trial. The Kralowec Law Group in San Francisco filed the lawsuit, though firms from New York City are in the process of joining the case.