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Apple claims retail workers' security checks aren't mandatory

updated 01:21 pm EDT, Fri May 23, 2014

Explanation used to fight lawsuit over unpaid hours

Apple is asking for a summary judgment in a lawsuit over unpaid retail labor on the premise that the bag checks it institutes aren't mandatory, says The Recorder. Apple Store workers who bring in bags and Apple gear are forced to undergo screening when they leave at the end of their shifts, which consumes potentially billable time. In a Thursday hearing, though, lawyers for Apple claimed that the screenings aren't mandatory if workers don't bring in bags or electronics.

A motion submitted by Apple's legal team -- Littler Mendelson -- states that "Because Apple does not require any employee to bring a bag or personal Apple technology to work, employees who report to work without bags or personal technology are fully capable of performing their jobs." During the hearing, though, US District Judge William Alsup challenged both points of view. "Could someone argue that maybe it's not so easy to leave those things behind, and it's a necessity of life?" he asked Littler Mendelson's Julie Dunne.

Lee Shalov, a McLaughlin & Stern lawyer for the plaintiffs, suggested that Apple was attempting "sleight of hand" by redefining the definition of mandatory. A brief submitted by Shalov's team proposes that following Apple's logic could lead to odd results in things like a pending Supreme Court case, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk. "By Apple's reasoning, the security screenings in Busk would not be compensable because employees can 'choose' not to wear clothes to work, and, therefore, can avoid the company's metal detectors," Shalov writes. "Similarly, employees can theoretically 'choose' not to have hair and thereby avoid spending time needed to don protective headware."

Alsup is due to rule on the summary judgment request within a week. Although the case is about unpaid hours, Apple's motion also attacks the work histories of the plaintiffs. Amanda Frlekin left Apple voluntarily, but is said to have been reprimanded for taking long breaks and lying about them, and also calling her manager a "c**t." Adam Kilker was fired for buying products with his employee discount and then returning them at another store for full price. Dean Pelle was fired for getting into an argument with a customer, and has allegedly admitted to filing suit in revenge. Brandon Fisher was asked to resign in 2012 instead of being fired for performance problems.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Yup. That is a pretty weak argument, Apple.
    Which 3 or 4 Apple employees would that not be mandatory for then?


  1. pottymouth

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 11-19-03

    Yet it seems completely reasonable to me. Should employees be paid for the time it takes to put on their uniforms, too?

    Normally, I'm all for protecting employee's rights, but this seems a bit ridiculous. An employee should punch in ready to work and start getting paid immediately. That same employee should punch out when their shift is over, stop working, and stop being paid. The rest is all part of the commute.

  1. pottymouth

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 11-19-03

    "Similarly, employees can theoretically 'choose' not to have hair and thereby avoid spending time needed to don protective headware."

    Wait...are they referring to part of a uniform? Since when are employees being paid to get dressed?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Tech workers in clean rooms, trade workers in otherwise dangerous conditions, food handlers,..

    The necessity to search belongings and such is imposed by Apple on their employees and/or is a requirement of employment (unless you have a place to stow your belongings prior to entry).

    There is no such imposition at many other jobs, and so it is not an issue for those employed for those jobs.
    This is a matter of making the time-clock the first and last thing an employee sees when arriving, and leaving, respectively. This puts the burden on Apple to complete the required searches in a timely manner, not on the employee.

    It is merely a trifle to let other people's time get wasted, I guess.

  1. jdonahoe

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 07-05-06

    It takes all of 5 seconds to search a bag. This lawsuit was by disgruntled, bad employees. I call anybody at work a c**t and I would be fired or at least severely reprimanded or worse, made to listen to those sexual harassment videos, again.

  1. shawnde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-01-08

    @Flying Meat

    I'm sure anyone who works for a sensitive government agency, such as CIA, DoD, Homeland Security, etc, plus many private corporations with sensitive information (defence contractors, pharmaceuticals, etc.) have all their employees frisked, and security checked before and after they come to work without pay. This is not just about Apple. And indeed, it makes total sense to me that if someone chooses to bring a bag, and they know the policy, they should deal with the security .... it's not mandatory to bring a bag. Apple could add terms and conditions for their employees NOT to bring any bags to work; that would be totally legal (I believe most CIA staffers are not allowed to bring bags) ..... would that be better?

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