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Apple ordered to pay California workers time to wait for bag search

Apple must pay store employees in California for the time they spend waiting for their bags to be checked by security officials, a court of appeals ruled this week.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on Wednesday, reversing a summary judgment order in Apple’s favor, as first reported by Law.com. The ongoing case began in 2015 when a group of Apple workers in California filed a class action lawsuit arguing that under state law, they should be paid if they waited for a bag search, which the company requires but does not consider at work. time.

The California Supreme Court ruled in February that state law required Apple to pay employees for the time they spent waiting for a manager or security officer to search their luggage – as is the company’s policy to deter theft – after the shifts ended, but before they could leave store. The workers said that for a few days they ended up waiting for 45 minutes for a manager or security officer to be available to do the searches.

“Apple’s initial search is required as a practical matter, occurs in the workplace, involves a significant degree of control, is imposed primarily in Apple’s favor, and is enforced through threats of discipline,” the Supreme Court wrote in its ruling.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in the Northern District of California granted Apple’s request for a summary verdict, since the company claimed that some of the employees who were part of the class action group did not bring bags or devices to work, “were never required to participate in controls, ”and denied that the policy had ever been enforced through disciplinary action. Alsup is known for its role in Oracle v. Google and his attention to detail in matters concerning technology companies.

But the Ninth Circuit ruled that the facts of the dispute were “irrelevant as to whether time spent by class members waiting for and undergoing exit searches under the policy can be compensated as” hours worked “under California law.” The district court therefore made a mistake by giving Apple a summary judgment, the ninth district judges wrote in their decision. Judge Consuelo Marshall rejected the company’s argument that the plaintiffs’ proposal should be rejected.

The ninth district returned the case with instructions to grant the employees’ recommendation for a brief judgment on the question of how long they have spent waiting, demanding compensation under state law.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

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