Apple has agreed to pay US$29.9 million (~RM124 million) to settle a class-action lawsuit by employees who were made to endure security bag checks. This security measure was apparently done while the employees were off the clock, before meal breaks, and after their shift had ended.
The lawsuit by Apple Store employees, filed in 2013, claims that Apple violated California law by not paying them for the time it took to finish the bag checks. The filed complaint detailed that these checks lasted anywhere from five to 45 minutes.
Apple argued that the security checks were to ensure that employees weren’t hiding stolen devices, and that workers who didn’t agree with the policy could choose not to bring bags to work. The lawsuit also revealed that CEO Tim Cook was unaware of the policy at the time, as he apparently forwarded a complaint email from two employees to HR executives, asking, “Is this true?”.
The lawsuit was dismissed in 2015, but an appeal led to the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking the California Supreme Court to clarify the law. In 2020, the California Supreme Court ruled that Apple must pay its retail workers for the time taken for the bag checks.
The lawsuit covers 14,683 current and former workers in Apple’s 52 stores in California. The settlement will see each employee getting US$1,286 (~RM5,347). Apple did not comment on the settlement and said that it discontinued the policy back in December 2015.