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Bag searches lead to lawsuit against Apple by employees

A pair of Apple retail employees has filed a lawsuit against their former employer, alleging the company has engaged in improper and illegal wage practices. The suit was filed in federal court in the Northern District of California on July 25 and according to court paperwork, is seeking class-action certification.

The two former employees claim that Apple’s two bag searches each day – which are mandatory – cost them up to $1,500 a year in unpaid wages and overtime. The former employees worked in Apple retail stores in Los Angeles and New York and say they were made to wait for up to 30 minutes at the end of their shift so managers could search their bags to be sure they weren’t stealing any Apple products. In addition, the searches were required when leaving for a meal break.

The bag searches were conducted while the employees were off the clock and the lawsuit alleges that hourly employees with Apple have not been paid millions of dollars in wages and overtime. The lawsuit says this is a violation of state wage and hour laws in California and New York, as well as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Apple has not commented on the case, but many say that their practice is common in the industry. Had the employees been salaried employees, there would likely be no valid claim, but this is not simply a misclassification of employee status, either.

There are about 42,400 Apple employees working in 13 countries. Last year, the company reported sales of $156.5 billion. Most make around $18.75 an hour, according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks compensation for the wages and overtime. In addition, the suits asks that Apple be ordered to stop the practice.

If you feel your employer is not abiding by federal or state laws regarding wages and overtime compensation, contact an experienced California employment attorney to learn more about your options. You may be able to pursue a civil action against your employer.

Source: cnet.com, “Apple slapped with lawsuit over mandatory employee bag checks” Dara Kerr, Jul. 29, 2013

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