Apple to Pay $29.9M to Workers Over After-Hours Bag Checks

Apple Inc. agreed to pay $29.9 million to employees at its stores who were forced to submit to security bag checks – off the clock — when they left work after or during their shifts, Bloomberg reported.

The lawsuit only covered workers at California’s 52 Apple stores. The class includes 14,683 workers; each will get $1,286 from the settlement, the lawyers said in the court filing.

The name of the lawsuit is Frlekin v. Apple Inc. It is not a new lawsuit. According to Bloomberg, the class-action lawsuit was filed in 2013, in which a group of workers claimed that Apple was violating California law by not paying them for the time it took to check their bags. Apple countered that claim by stating that the bag searches were necessary to make sure workers were not hiding stolen electronic devices in their bags. Apple argued in court that anyone who didn’t like the policy could choose not to bring bags to work.

This lawsuit is specific to California Apple Stores. Apple should have known better than to make its workers wait around – off the clock and unpaid – for someone to check their bags. In February of 2020, Los Angeles Times reported that Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in a decision that an industrial wage order defines hours as “the time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.”

Los Angeles Times also reported that the California Supreme Court unanimously decided that California law requires Apple Inc. to pay its workers for being searched before they leave retail stores.

The good news is that these workers are going to get paid for the time they were required to stand around waiting for their bags to be checked (without pay). Unfortunately, I don’t think all states have the law that California has (requiring workers to be paid for their time). So it is possible that Apple, or other companies, in other states, may attempt to force security checks on their workers without having to pay them for their time.

According to Bloomberg, Apple said that it discontinued the bag check policy in 2015.