If employees are required to stay at their workplace after they clock out in order to have their bags searched, should they be paid for that time? That’s the question at the center of a lawsuit recently filed on July 25 in California by two former Apple employees. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for overtime and unpaid wages, claiming that they should have been paid for all the time they were subjected to bag screenings from their employer.
In Apple stores across the nation, employees are subjected to bag searches as a protection against theft. According to the lawsuit, these searches took place whenever employees had clocked out and were leaving the store. The plaintiffs claim that they were often waiting in line for up to 10 minutes for each bag check, and they feel they should be compensated for that time.
The former employees worked for Apple for several years in California and other states. Their lawsuit contends that because the searches are done on the employees’ own time and for the employer’s benefit, the employees should be paid regular wages for that time in addition to overtime pay for any time exceeding 40 hours per week. They are pursuing class-action status for the benefit of every former and current hourly employee.
Under California law, hourly employees are entitled to full and fair compensation for any time spent in the employer’s service, including overtime compensation if that time exceeds 40 hours in a work week. Those who feel that they are not getting the amount of wages they are owed may benefit from examining their legal options. Regardless of whether the plaintiffs in this case are compensated for unpaid wages, this lawsuit may encourage Apple to review its policies regarding bag searches, which may benefit hourly employees in the future.
Reuters, “Ex-workers sue Apple, seek overtime for daily bag searches,” July 30, 2013