Apple’s $30 million settlement over workers’ baggage checks approved by court

After bouncing around California courts for nearly a decade, a California federal judge has given the green light to Apple’s $30 million settlement in a lawsuit accusing it of failing to pay thousands of its retail workers for the time it takes for security checks after they expire. official working hours.

Apple agreed to the settlement last year, and US District Judge William Allsopp signed it on Monday.

The class action involved about 14,000 current and former employees of the Apple Store in California, each of whom will receive compensation of up to $1,200.

The employees who filed the class action in 2013 worked at 52 Apple Stores across California. The lawsuit alleges that baggage checks by Apple security staff must take place within their working hours and not after they have finished.

Each search took between 5 and 20 minutes to complete, forcing workers to remain inside the store even though the day was officially over. The practice of bag checking continued from 2009 until 2015, when Apple finally ended the procedure.

The lawsuit alleged that Apple violated California law by conducting out-of-hours checks. But the tech company insisted it should check the bags to make sure employees don’t walk out with stolen devices or other important items, adding that anyone who doesn’t agree to the arrangement should leave their bags at home.

In a long-running struggle between Apple and plaintiffs, the US District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the case in 2015 after ruling that workers could indeed have avoided searches by not bringing a briefcase to work.

But after the plaintiffs responded, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided to consult the California Supreme Court to get a clearer understanding of whether baggage searches should be conducted around the clock or on staff time.

The Supreme Court sided with plaintiffs in 2020, saying Apple Store workers were “obviously” in the store at the time Apple was waiting for searches to begin, and also during the time the searches took place.

“Exit searches burden Apple employees by preventing them from leaving the building with their personal belongings until they undergo an exit search,” the court said at the time. She added that her decision must be applied retroactively, leaving Apple with a massive $30 million bill that the judge passed on Monday.

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