Apple Ordered to Pay California Store Workers for Time Spent in Bag Searches
Apple must pay store employees in California for the time they spend waiting for their bags to be checked by security officers. According to a report on The Verge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued the ruling, which reverses a summary judgment in Apple’s favor. The ongoing case began back in 2015 when a group of Apple retail workers in California filed a class action lawsuit arguing that under state law, they should be paid if they wait for bag searches, which the company requires but did not consider as time spent on the job.
Is Time Spent in Exit Searches Compensable?
California’s Supreme Court ruled in February that state law required Apple to pay employees for the time they spent waiting around after their shift ended for a manager or a security officer to search their bags. This was a company policy that was put in place to deter theft. Workers said some days they had to wait for up to 45 minutes for a supervisor or a security officer to complete the searches.
The Supreme Court wrote in its decision that Apple’s exit searches are required and enforced through the threat of discipline for the company’s own benefit. Therefore, it ruled Apple should compensate workers for this time. But, U.S. District Judge William Aslup of the Northern District of California granted Apple’s request for a summary judgment since the company argued that some of the workers who were part of the class action didn’t even bring bags to work and were never required to participate in the checks.
However, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the facts in dispute were not relevant to whether time spent by workers waiting to be subject to these exit searches is compensable under California law. The Ninth Circuit judges determined that the district court had erred in granting summary judgment to Apple.
Paying Workers for Their Time
This class action lawsuit raises a very important point – the fact that workers need to be compensated for any time they spend that is to the employer’s benefit. In this case, whether workers brought in bags or devices to work doesn’t matter. The matter to be determined is whether the time spent by workers waiting to be searched is time that is compensable. We hope Apple employees get the wages that are due and that this case sets a precedent for other companies that require employee exit searches.