The US tech giant Apple plans to pay for a settlement over a dispute over employees’ delay in getting off work.
On August 15, local time, a judge approved a settlement agreement proposed by Apple (Apple) for a lawsuit, which will pay $30.5 million (equivalent to RMB 207 million) to about 15,000 employees.
The case goes back nine years.
In 2013, employees of an Apple retail store in California, the United States, filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple for delaying get off work due to bag searches.
These employees have to wait in line for security checks during meal breaks and before leaving get off work, and Apple does not pay them the corresponding wages while waiting for the search.
One of the plaintiffs, Amanda Frlekin, said each search took between five and 20 minutes, with wallets, briefcases and personal Apple devices being checked.
Frlekin said employees wait a total of 50 minutes to 1.5 hours a week, and Apple will pay an additional $1,400 based on average hourly wages.
Apple argues that searches are necessary to prevent employees from stealing devices or taking important materials out of the company.
Apple said people who are unwilling to accept bag searches can choose not to pack or carry their personal Apple devices to work.
In 2015, a judge ruled in Apple's favor, arguing that security checks were necessary because employees chose to bring backpacks and personal Apple devices to work.
The judge said Apple could have implemented a stricter policy prohibiting employees from bringing bags or personal Apple devices to stores.
But five years later, the case ushered in a turning point.
In 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the above decision, and the case was referred to the California Supreme Court.
In the end, the California Supreme Court ruled that Apple violated state law, arguing that the company should also pay wages while employees waited for security checks.
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye explained that Apple employees were clearly under Apple's "control" as they waited for security checks and searches.
Apple's unpaid search violated the California Labor Code.
In November, Apple settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay employees $29.9 million in settlements.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco approved Apple's settlement agreement, which will eventually pay employees $30.5 million.
Each is expected to receive $1,328 in settlements, Bloomberg Law said.
According to Bloomberg, the lawsuit involves 52 Apple stores in California and includes 14,683 current and former employees who worked for Apple from July 2009 to December 2015.
Lee Shalov, a senior attorney at McLaughlin & Stern in New York, called it "the largest security search settlement in California history."
It is worth noting that in 2015, Apple has stopped the search behavior of employees.
Apple is not alone in disputes with employees.
Retail giant Walmart and e-commerce giant Amazon have also been involved in similar cases, according to Reuters.
Last year, Amazon and a human resources agency agreed to pay 42,000 warehouse workers $8.7 million in settlements last year to settle a case.
Interestingly, while Apple was being sued, its CEO, Tim Cook, did not appear to be aware of the backpack search rule.
In 2015, there were media reports that two Apple employees complained directly to Cook about the search problem, and Cook forwarded the email to the human resources director, asking if the matter was "true."