12,000 Apple retail workers in California have scored a recent victory in court. U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled in the worker’s favor after arguing that Apple owes them unpaid wages and damages for having them work off the clock while undergoing security screenings.
In their argument the retail workers describe Apple making them clock out before going through security screening which involved having their bags checked daily. The workers claim that the time they spend on theses screenings accrued to about 90 minutes of unpaid work each week. Based on the case filings the damages that Apple could end up owing is currently estimated to be around $60 million.
The history of this lawsuit goes back to 2013 when the class action lawsuit was first filed. This lawsuit came as a response to the 2012 California Supreme Court ruling that required employers to pay their workers for the time spent in security screenings.
Initially, the lawsuit was dismissed back in 2015 after the Judge ruled that since workers were not required to bring bags and other items that would need to be screened then they were not under the company’s control at the time.
However, on February 2020 the California Supreme Court released an opinion stating that Apple must pay their workers for the time they were made to be off the clock and still be made to go through security screenings. Thus, the California Supreme Court’s opinion highly influenced the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn the initial dismissal in September of 2020. These events eventually led Apple retail workers to gain their recent victory in court.
Going forward Judge Alsup has granted Apple the opportunity to discover the amount of damage owed through a series in mini-trials. Therefore, Apple’s lawyers at DLA Piper can identify which individuals in the class action lawsuit either never waited any time to go though security screening or if any individuals spent time classified as too minor and trivial at these security screenings for it to be compensated.
Judge Alsup, however, also made it clear that in these series of mini-trials Apple cannot ask worker’s to submit claim forms with every detailed number of times they spent going through security screening while off the clock. Instead, Judge Alsup said that workers can only give an estimate of this time waiting to be screened especially since a lot of the claims are nearly a decade old.
In a statement Judge Alsup said “I’m not going to require the claimants to figure out every day they stood in line and how long they stood in line; if they gave dates, they would not be telling the truth,” Alsup said. “Apple is just out of luck on that point.”
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