Apple, the Big Tech giant, is now liable for paying its retail workers for all hours worked, specifically, time spent waiting to go through security checks at the end of their shifts. This ruling was recently reached by the Ninth Circuit in a unanimous opinion that reversed a California judge’s decision that these security and bag checks could not be considered as work time since employees could simply avoid them by not bringing a bag. However, the three-judge panel found that time spent waiting at a job site location for required exit searches should be compensable under California labor law.
Retail workers initially filed a class action against the company, alleging that Apple’s policy required them to clock out before undergoing two daily bag checks. Workers claimed that being off-the-clock during these security checks added up to about 90 minutes of unpaid work per week. The Ninth Circuit was tasked with determining just how voluntary these off-the-clock bag searches really are with all the facts considered. Despite the claim that employees could just opt to leave their bag at home, the fact that many people routinely carry bags could cause the majority to feel like they have little “true choice” in the matter. Due to the significant degree of control imposed by Apple in completing these exit searches in the workplace, and that they were conducted for the company’s benefit and through threat of discipline, the time spent waiting by the employee should be considered as ‘hours worked’ and paid accordingly.
If you’ve worked in the retail industry and your employer has established security check policies, make sure you have been compensated for your time waiting to clear your belongings. Companies often force you to clock out before these exit searches are completed, so if you’ve experienced similar issues, you may have a claim for owed wages. For a free a confidential consultation, do not hesitate to call us at (212) 300-0375 or visit our website for additional helpful information regarding your rights.