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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Judge dismisses 'wage theft' suit against Apple by employees

Judge dismisses 'wage theft' suit against Apple by employees
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Dec 30, 2014, 09:07 PM
 
Apple has won in a pair of lawsuits lodged in the summer of 2013 by disgruntled employees that charged the company with a form of "wage theft" by not paying workers while they were being checked during mandatory security and loss-prevention screenings. Citing a Supreme Court decision in a similar case, Federal Court Judge William Alsop ruled that such screenings are not "integral and indispensable" parts of the retail workers' jobs, therefore the plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation for the time spent in such activities.

Judge Alsop dismissed proposed class-action lawsuits on the matter with prejudice due to no class action being certified, but allowed a second consolidated complaint from two other plaintiffs to be presented on January 6, warning attorneys in the case that the complaint must emphasize any differences between the new complaint and those that were dismissed. The judge's dismissal cited the case of Integrity Staffing Solutions vs. Busk, in which the Supreme Court found unanimously that a temp agency wasn't responsible for paying Amazon warehouse workers for any duties not directly related to their jobs, such as mandatory security checks.

The justices compared such tasks as comparable to fire drills or commuting time that are likewise not essential parts of the job, and thus do not require compensation (though companies are free to offer it if they choose), reports The New York Times.

The plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case argued that workers should be paid for time spent in security screenings, which added up to substantive "lost" wages over the course of a year. In the Apple complaint, the plaintiffs said that workers could lose up to 90 minutes waiting for security checks and then complying with them, losing upwards of $1,400 per year in uncompensated time. This added up, the plaintiffs said into "millions of dollars" in wages and overtime that were due them.

     
TomMcIn
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Dec 30, 2014, 09:26 PM
 
Did they claim up to 90 minutes per day per employee? Seems like another sloppy piece of work by some Class Action Lawyer.
     
Charles Martin
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Dec 30, 2014, 10:41 PM
 
No, that was used as an example, albeit an exceptional one. It is true, however, that employees frequently had to wait -- ie, not be allowed to go home -- between the end of their shift and the time they could be checked for security, sometimes for excessive periods of time like an hour. Hopefully, Apple will use this experience to develop a process where employees can more quickly be checked and be allowed to leave shortly after their shift ends, thus eliminating the entire issue.
Charles Martin
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FireWire
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Dec 30, 2014, 11:09 PM
 
what kind of ruling is that? If you cannot leave your work, you should be paid.. and who doesn't get paid during fire drills? employers actually deduct that time? do they really have to clock out?
     
Charles Martin
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Dec 31, 2014, 04:41 AM
 
Firewire: the law allows employers not to pay employees for any time spent doing stuff that is not part of their job, but that doesn't mean it is always done. Most employers, I dare say, are not petty enough to deduct payment for things like fire drills -- though I have seen and experienced employers who deducted pay for similarly petty things.

As for not being able to leave work but also not being screened because you are waiting on a security screening, that is likely to be the nature of the second complaint brought to the court. We'll see if it survives the Busk ruling, but bear in mind that the current SCOTUS is very pro-business, and not very pro-worker.
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burger
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Dec 31, 2014, 09:22 AM
 
It will all come down to whether the employees signed anything allowing them to be detained. Otherwise, it's illegal search and seizure.
     
DiabloConQueso
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Dec 31, 2014, 12:52 PM
 
It's not illegal search and seizure because neither the worker nor the employer is the government.
     
mac_in_tosh
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Dec 31, 2014, 01:43 PM
 
It just seems mean-spirited for a company that makes tens of billions of dollars a year to stoop to such pettiness. Employees have lives outside of Apple, they have places to go after work, so if you force them to spend extra time AT WORK they should be compensated. You know about compensation, don't you Mr. Cook?
     
   
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