Apple Employees Fight For Compensation For Time Spent in Bag Checks

On Thursday, a class of California Apple Inc. retail employees, who allege that Apple failed to pay employees for time spent in bag checks, opposed a motion for summary judgment by Apple in California federal court. The employees filed their lawsuit against Apple in 2013, alleging that the illegal bag checks resulted in 90 minutes of uncompensated work time every week.

The employees’ primary argument is that they were required to undergo the bag checks, and because the checks solely benefit their employer, they should be considered compensable hours. The employees argue that the bag checks are analogous to other activities that have been held to be compensable hours under California law, such as security screenings, on-duty meal periods, and job interviews. In all these activities, the employees are still under the employer’s control. Notably, the class is limited to California employees because the Supreme Court ruled in December that employees are not entitled to compensation for security screenings under the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Busk v. Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc.)

Apple, in opposing these allegations, says that the employees would not be subject to the check if they chose not to bring a bag or personal Apple electronics to work. In response, the employee class argues that this is a red herring, and that instead of addressing the legality of the bag checks without pay, Apple is trying to distract the court with whether or not bringing a bag is a voluntary activity. However, the employees argue, Apple has not shown that there is any mutual convenience to the bag checks – it is solely for Apple’s benefit.

“We think the company is obligated to compensate them for the time,” Shalov said. “We’re hopeful the judge recognizes that people spend time at these checks because they have to, not because they want to. It doesn’t convenience them in any way.”

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