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Technology Apple must pay store employees for bag-search time, court rules

03:00  14 february  2020
03:00  14 february  2020 Source:   cnet.com

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Apple must pay its retail store employees for the time they spend waiting for mandatory bag searches at the end of their shifts, the California The lawsuit was dismissed in 2015 by US District Court Judge William Alsup, who ruled in favor of Apple 's argument that employees were free to not

AAPL . Apple Store . The California Supreme Court has made a decision in a class-action lawsuit against Apple that dates back to 2013. Today, Bloomberg Law reports that the California Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the workers: Apple violated state law when it didn’t pay for the time “The exit searches burden Apple ’s employees by preventing them from leaving the premises with their

Apple must pay its retail store employees for the time they spend waiting for mandatory bag searches at the end of their shifts, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The decision is retroactive, but it wasn't immediately clear how much Apple would have to pay.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Apple store employees deserve to be paid for time spent waiting for mandatory bag searches at the end of their shifts, the California Supreme Court rules. James Martin/CNET© Provided by CNET Apple store employees deserve to be paid for time spent waiting for mandatory bag searches at the end of their shifts, the California Supreme Court rules. James Martin/CNET

The decision stems from a class-action lawsuit filed in 2013 by two former workers from Apple stores in New York and Los Angeles that claimed employees at physical locations were required to stand in lines up to 30 minutes long every day for store managers to check their bags to ensure they weren't smuggling home stolen goods. Failure to comply can lead to the employee's termination.

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a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Apple store employees deserve to be paid for time spent waiting for mandatory bag searches at the end of their shifts, the California Supreme Court rules. © James Martin/CNET

Apple store employees deserve to be paid for time spent waiting for mandatory bag searches at the end of their shifts, the California Supreme Court rules.

The lawsuit was dismissed in 2015 by US District Court Judge William Alsup, who ruled in favor of Apple's argument that employees were free to not bring a bag to work, thus avoiding the search process. Plaintiffs appealed the case to the state Supreme Court later that year.

"Under the circumstances of this case and the realities of ordinary, 21st century life, we find farfetched and untenable Apple's claim that its bag-search policy can be justified as providing a benefit to its employees," Supreme Court Judge Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the decision (PDF).

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The court specifically took issue with Apple's contention that employees didn't need to bring bags to work and said an Apple restriction on employee bags at work would be "draconian."

"Given that Apple requires its employees to wear Apple-branded apparel while working but directs them to remove or cover up such attire while outside the Apple store, it is reasonable to assume that some employees will carry their work uniform or a change of clothes in a bag in order to comply with Apple's compulsory dress code policy," she wrote.

The court found that because Apple requires the employee searches, the law requires the employees to be paid for their time.

"Apple may tailor its bag-search policy as narrowly or broadly as it desires and may minimize the time required for exit searches," Cantil-Sakauye wrote. "But it must compensate those employees to whom the policy applies for the time spent waiting for and undergoing these searches."

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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