Apple has agreed to pay $29.9 million to almost 15,000 retail workers in a deal that would end a suit in California federal court claiming the company failed to pay them for mandatory bag checks.
The employees urged U.S. District Judge William Alsup to sign off on the deal Friday, saying it is the largest settlement in a security search case in California and would grant substantial monetary relief to the class members.
“This is an outstanding result in view of the potential hurdles to recovering monetary relief had the case proceeded through trail,” the workers said.
The parties struck the deal after Judge Alsup said in April order that Apple Inc. was liable to compensate the time the workers spent while waiting an undergoing the security checks and that the damages would be calculated at trial. Judge Alsup said in his order that he weas postponing any ruling on whether the de minims defense applied to the state claims, even though it generally applies to claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The trial date has yet to be set.
The settlement would resolve claims Apple retail employees made in a July 2013 lawsuit, which alleged that the technology giant illegally required them to clock out before two daily required bag check that resulted in about 90 minutes of unpaid work each week.
The employees also included a claim under Private Attorneys General Act, a California law that allows workers to file labor claims on behalf of the state with the state Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
Apple agreed to separately pay $757,000 to cover the employer’s share of the payroll taxes owed on the wage portion of the settlement fund.
The deal would disburse about $90,000 to the settlement administrator, $10,000 to each of the five named plaintiffs, up to $10,000 to cover attorney fees and up to $450,000 for litigation costs, the workers said.
The Apple employees said that the settlement would also allocate about $449,000 to solve the PAGA claim, of which 75% will be distributed to the LWDA and 25% to the eligible class members.
After those deductions are made, the net settlement amount would be distributed among the class members based on the number of shifts they worked at an Apple retail store in California between July 25, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2015. On average, each class members with the 13,884 who already opted in.
In February 2020, the case was brought to California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit found that time spent on an employer’s premises waiting for required exit searches is compensable under state labor law. In October 2020, the panel amended its opinion, and clarified that it’s unclear whether Apple adequately raised its de minimis defense in lower court.