Apple sued by U.S. workers for unpaid wages

While Apple suppliers are again coming under fire for poor working conditions overseas, Apple itself is the target of a new lawsuit from its employees in the U.S.

In a class-action lawsuit filed last week in San Francisco federal court, two former hourly employees at Apple Stores in Los Angeles and New York are claiming violations of state labor laws and the Unfair Labor Standards Act, saying they are due lost wages for unpaid time spent having their personal bags searched.

The lawsuit claims whenever employees leave the store, whether for a break or to go home, they must wait in line for up to 15 minutes for off-the-clock inspections of personal bags and purses for stolen items. According to the two plaintiffs, the anti-theft searches added up to about an hour and a half of unpaid overtime a week — about $1,500 a year. The policy has been in effect at all Apple Stores for the past 10 years, the lawsuit says:

Apple has engaged and continues to engage in illegal and improper wage practices that have deprived Apple Hourly Employees throughout the United States of millions of dollars in wages and overtime compensation. These practices include requiring Apple Hourly Employees to wait in line and undergo two off-the-clock security bags searches and clearance checks when they leave for their meal breaks and after they have clocked out at the end of their shifts. . . . This illegal practice and policy has been known to the Defendant for years and Apple continues to require Apple Hourly Employees to endure these required but uncompensated security checks.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, but with more than 42,000 retail employees, Apple could be faced with tens of millions of dollars in potentially unpaid wages.

Apple has not commented on the lawsuit.
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The Apple Store on University Avenue in Palo Alto is seen in this 2012 file photo. Dai Sugano/Staff

Mike Murphy Mike Murphy (354 Posts)

Mike Murphy is a web producer at the Mercury News, and also writes for Good Morning Silicon Valley and 60-Second Business Break.