Apple sued by own employees

The tech giant's retail workers want to turn the case into a class-action lawsuit.

By Benzinga Jul 30, 2013 12:15PM

Laws (© Medio Images/SuperStock)By Tim Parker

Apple (AAPL) keeps its lawyers busy with its constant stream of patent lawsuits, but a new case was filed late last week that is just now making news.

This time it's not a rival company, a patent troll or one of the many frivolous suits that the company is hit with. This time, it's from Apple's own employees.

The case is Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle v. Apple Inc. The plaintiffs are former Apple retail employees who claim that they lost about $1,400 in wages per year because of Apple's security policies.

The complaint alleges: "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."

When an Apple employee completes a shift or clocks out for a meal break, the employee's bags and pockets are checked. According to the complaint, the employee has to wait an average of 10-15 minutes before the security check is performed.

At issue is the fact that employees aren't paid for the time they wait for the check. This can add up to between 50 minutes to 1.5 hours per week for a total of around $1,400 per year.

The plaintiffs are seeking to make this a class action suit that represents all current and former Apple retail employees over the past three years.

A security check of this type isn't necessarily out of line, AppleInsider points out. Electronics retailers and other companies dealing in high dollar merchandise often have security checks of employees, but companies like GameStop (GME) allow employees to stay on the clock until the check is complete.

This isn't the first time that Apple has come under fire for its treatment of its retail employees. A story last year by The New York Times found that employees were paid between $9 and $15 per hour -- in-line with other retail employees but lower than employees in other, less profitable stores.

The class action suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Tim Parker was long Apple.

More from Benzinga

Jul 30, 2013 1:34PM
They must pay the employees for this time, its no different if the boss says, " clock out and run to the store to get something for busines". You cannot use employees time if they are not compensated.
Jul 30, 2013 1:38PM

Legitamet complaint.  If the employer is requiring an hourly employee to stick around to be searched, it needs to be on the clock.  The employer has all the rights in the world to do it, but needs to compensate the employee for the extra time it takes.  Time is money...

Jul 30, 2013 1:38PM
No these guys are 100% correct.  Would you stand in line for a security check every day for the pure joy of it?  If they were making good money I'm sure they wouldn't say anything but if they are going to make a crappy wage and then have this kind of treatment on top of it, I hope they win the lawsuit.
As far as them being babies and they should fire them I ask you this;
How miserable is your life that you wish people you haven't met would lose their jobs, are you jealous because your place in life is so low?
Jul 30, 2013 1:34PM
All these big retailers under pay employees. Cheap Labor at the Bottom means Big Bonus at the Top.
Jul 30, 2013 1:36PM
If I am at work and I'm doing anything to benefit the company, The company is going to pay me. Shouldn't it be that way everywhere? It isn't as though Apple is hurting for money. They can afford to pay their people for policies that they implement.
Jul 30, 2013 1:39PM
That's bullcrap they should be paid for their time. So many employers use excuses why they can't pay for something. I work as an electrician and my employer requires me to be at the shop up to one hour early every day to stock the van. that is 5 hours a week I am not paid for. 

In addition I don't get paid travel time from the job back to the shop to pick up my car. Sometimes it is an hour drive to the shop. So on average I am not paid for my time nearly 10 hours a week.

My boss says if he can't charge the time to the customer why would he pay me, because it is the law assbite.

He charges a trip charge, but I don't get paid any of it, he charges 5 times my wage so I feel I should be compensated for any time I am travelling, preparing materials, or on the jobsite.
Jul 30, 2013 1:34PM
This adds up, for the plaintiffs and for Apple. Ask yourself if you would like to donate 15 min. of every lunch hour you get to the boss. Hmmm? Maybe every so often, if it can't be helped, but as a regular giftie? No, and the law won't think so either.
Jul 30, 2013 1:31PM
Guaranteed if the employees were clocking IN and then spending 10-15 minutes getting coffee, going to the restroom etc before actually working, the company would be trying to get their money back somehow.
Jul 30, 2013 1:49PM

Seriously, you might get a half hour of your own time for lunch and they want you to hang around for 1/3 to 1/2 of it.  That's wrong.  These people are hourly employees. 

Punch out after the security check. Simple. 

Jul 30, 2013 1:41PM
Apple is a snob company. Still after all these years they refuse to work along with Flash, just as an example. Piss off Apple, you screw the workers in China, and now this. You and I have been divorced for a number of years now. I wouldn't use another one of your products if it was given to me. You are nothing more than a f___d up greedy bunch of corporate filth. 

Edit: Tell you what Apple. I got an iPad a few years back. Its up for sale. If I didn't need the money so much I would gladly give it back to the CEO, but I wouldn't hand it to him -- it would be placed where the sun don't shine. 
Jul 30, 2013 1:43PM
Elmo -If you were working 40 hours a week and making $18,000, then $1400 would mean a lot to you!!!!!
Jul 30, 2013 1:43PM
They should be paid for time Apple keeps them on the job. Having to wait for security checks is no different than having to wait  during other business hours. If you are going to keep employees on the job, regardless of what the employer is requiring  them to do, then they should be on the clock and getting paid.
Jul 30, 2013 1:46PM
Simply put, if you are an employee and you are required to participate in something that uses your time then they are required to pay you for said time.
Jul 30, 2013 1:35PM
Greed comes into mind with Apple. Retailers from the start of Apple could not make any money. Apple is so greedy they will never pay people what they are worth. Sad these people were in the same boat when they were young. Now stick it to the retail people who are above average in knowledge and need to know their stuff!
Jul 30, 2013 1:39PM
Apple needs to quit pushing the limit when it comes to using its employees. The company's poor in places like China are probably watching all of this carefully as their own lives slip into oblivion.
Jul 30, 2013 1:42PM
That's a nice chunk of change to lose!  Good for them.  It's about time the David's slew Goliath.  Hope they recoup their losses.
Jul 30, 2013 2:08PM
Why does this surprise anyone?  Apple is known for using any tactic it can to keep wages down.  Sorry, but if you want to do security checks, you do them on the clock.
Jul 30, 2013 1:31PM
"Apple relocates corporate headquarters to Bangalore".
Jul 30, 2013 1:56PM
hehe apple sucks. Since Jobs died the company is going down the crapper. 
Jul 30, 2013 1:42PM
Stuff like this is very common.  Going through college I worked for Domino's pizza. If I was helping close we had to clock when the store closed. Then we cleaned off the clock.  My wife said she did the same at McDonalds and her sister at KFC.
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