In California, 12,000 people came forth in a disturbing wage theft lawsuit which was initially launched in 2013 but got unceremoniously kicked under the rug. A year earlier in 2012, the California Supreme Court had ruled a state law requiring companies to pay all employees for time spent in security screenings. However, in light of more recent accusations, the case has been revived and this time, the employees may have earned favour with the courts.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has been leaving so many strapped for cash, Apple has been busy imposing stricter-than-ever safety regulations. This may be good in and of itself in light of the pandemic, but the law requires that employees be paid for any and all security checks—and Apple has been skimping out.
In 2013, the employees originally sued because of the demeaning and unpaid bag check policy Apple was enforcing outside of paid shift hours, and the case had been dismissed due to the fact that employees were not required to bring bags to work which they knew would be subjected to security checks. Amidst the pandemic, Apple has added on more time-consuming procedures including taking temperatures and asking screening questions. This could result in Apple being forced to dish out 60 million dollars in damages in California alone.
In a recent phone hearing, District Judge William Alsup (who also worked on the case previously) seemed to sympathize with the employees, stating that he is prepared to make a ruling in their favor. His plan is to allow Apple the chance to dispute the allegations on a case-by-case basis in a series of mini-trials to show whether or not employees were forced to spend time in security checks without compensation, before making a final decision.