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Apple to pay $30m to store staff who were forced to submit to bag checks as they clocked-off work


Apple agrees to pay $30MILLION to California store staff who were forced to submit to bag checks as they clocked-off work

  • Apple agreed to pay $29.9 million to store workers in California due to the tech giant forcing its employees to submit to security bag checks, even off the clock 
  • The ruling comes following an eight-year legal battle, when a group of Apple employees sued their employer back in 2013
  • They had argued that the company was violating California state law by not paying them for their time spent undergoing the security checks
  • The employees also had to let their Apple products be inspected and verified during the searches 
  • The lawsuit specifically covers employees who work at California’s 52 Apple stores  
  • Attorneys said in the court filing that 14,683 workers will receive $1,286 from the settlement 


Apple has agreed to pay $29.9 million to store workers in California after the Supreme Court ruled Friday against the tech giant’s policy of forcing its employees to submit to security bag checks, despite them being off the clock.

The ruling comes following an eight-year legal battle, when a group of Apple employees sued their employer back in 2013, arguing the company was violating California state law by not paying them for their time spent undergoing the security checks, according to court documents.

The employees also had to let their Apple products be inspected and verified during the searches. 

‘This is a significant, non-reversionary settlement reached after nearly eight years of hard-fought litigation,’ the plaintiffs’ attorney Lee Shalov, wrote in the proposed settlement.

‘If approved, this will be the largest reported settlement in a security search case in California,’ Shalov added prior to Friday’s ruling.  

The lawsuit specifically covers employees who work at California’s 52 Apple stores.

Apple agreed to pay $29.9 million to store workers in California due to the tech giant forcing its employees to submit to security bag checks, despite them being off the clock

A group of Apple employees sued back in 2013, where they argued the company was violating California state law by not paying them for their time spent undergoing the security checks (file image)

A group of Apple employees sued back in 2013, where they argued the company was violating California state law by not paying them for their time spent undergoing the security checks (file image)

Attorneys said in the court filing that 14,683 workers will receive $1,286 from the settlement, according to Bloomberg.

Apple had argued that the bag searches were necessary to ensure workers were not stealing electronics from their California stores, and that it didn’t control its employees during searches.

The tech giant also argued in court that any employee who didn’t agree with the policy should not bring a bag with them to work. 

However, the California Supreme Court disagreed with Apple’s assessment of the policy while referring to a legal requirement in the state’s wage law that states employees should be paid for the entire time they are subject to the company’s control. 

Justices also criticized Apple for its seemingly inconsistent arguments over iPhones and other Apple products.   

‘The irony and inconsistency of Apple’s argument must be noted. Its characterization of the iPhone as unnecessary for its own employees is directly at odds with its description of the iPhone as an “integrated and integral” part of the lives of everyone else,’ wrote California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

Apple argued that the bag searches were necessary to insure workers were not stealing from their California stores, and that it didn't control its employees during searches

Apple argued that the bag searches were necessary to insure workers were not stealing from their California stores, and that it didn’t control its employees during searches

‘Apple employees are clearly under Apple’s control while awaiting, and during, the exit searches. Apple controls its employees during this time in several ways,’ Cantil-Sakauye added.   

The lawsuit has had quite the history over the eight-years since it was initially filed. 

In 2015, a judge granted Apple’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. 

However, in February 2020 the case was brought back after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the company was on the hook for compensating employees for their time spent having bags checked. 

The company wrote in the settlement agreement that it had discontinued the bag check policy back in December 2015. 

Apple did not immediately return a request for comment on the settlement. 

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