In February of this year, the California Supreme Court ruled that Apple, Inc. is required by state law to pay its employees for the time they spend undergoing mandatory bag searches after clocking out from their shifts. Previously, Apple employees had to wait up to forty-five minutes of unpaid time for someone to perform a search of their bag.
Apple’s defense involved the claim that employees didn’t have to bring bags to work and therefore undergo searches. However, upon consideration of Apple’s policy that requires its employees to wear uniforms while at work but to conceal such apparel outside of the Apple store, the Court ruled that it is reasonable for employees to bring bags to work in order to carry additional clothing.
Later in September, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a motion for summary judgment that was in Apple’s favor and affirmed the state Supreme Court’s decision that the facts in dispute by Apple regarding the necessity of bringing a bag to work were irrelevant in determining whether time spent by employees for a search is compensable as “hours worked” under California law.
Apple’s Possible Future
While the case remains in litigation in district court, a ruling in favor of Apple employees seems hopeful. If such a ruling comes to fruition, Apple must calculate a settlement amount that retroactively awards California employees back pay. Considering Apple reported approximately 137,000 full-time workers in 2019 and a record quarterly revenue of nearly $92 billion in January of this year, the settlement could easily be in the seven-figure range.
This case against Apple is one of many that is continually evolving the Courts’ interpretation of what is considered as compensable time for employees. In California especially, employees are protected by numerous state laws in addition to federal statutes. Unfortunately, some people are uninformed of their rights as employees, and employers can take advantage of this.
Reach Out to an Experienced Employment Law Firm for a Free Consultation
As employment attorneys in California, we are committed to ensuring our clients receive the rights they are entitled to as employees under state law. If you believe you are not being compensated for time required to spend at work, such as in the case against Apple mentioned above, or if you believe you have been denied your rights as an employee in any other capacity, we at Makarem & Associates are ready to step in and help you. With some of the best employment law attorneys in California, we can provide you legal representation to help you reach the most ideal outcome.