Former Apple Store Workers Demand Compensation For Bag Searches

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Ex-employees claim they lost up to $1,400 a year because the searches were conducted off-the-clock

Two former Apple Store employees are suing the company in the US, demanding compensation for daily bag searches which took place while they were off-the-clock.

The searches are standard procedure for Apple’s retail stores, meant to prevent staff from taking the shiny gadgets home. However, the pair argue that unpaid time spent on queuing for searches equals unpaid work.

It is not known whether Apple conducts similar searches in its UK stores.

First world problems

Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle have worked for Apple for several years. In a lawsuit filed on 25 July in San Francisco, they claim that mandatory “screenings” took place every time an employee wished to leave the store, even if it was their lunch break, reports Reuters.

Lisa F. YoungThe pair claim they were frequently waiting in a queue for 5-10 minutes before being searched, and this time was unpaid, losing them around $1,400 per year.

“This work, done primarily for the employer’s benefit, is time which Apple hourly employees should be, but are not compensated for, both straight hours and overtime hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week,” reads the lawsuit.

Now, Frlekin and Pelle have demanded Apple pays lost wages and overtime compensation, plus any additional penalties the jury might award. They also seek class-action status. If it is granted, every retail employee who has been working for Apple in the past three years will be entitled to participate in the lawsuit.

“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,” reads the filing.

Meanwhile, in China, Apple supplier Pegatron has been accused of at least 86 labour rights violations, including hiring discrimination, using under-age labour and providing poor working and living conditions.

“In short, the Pegatron factories are violating a great number of international and Chinese laws and standards as well as the standards of Apple’s own social responsibility code of conduct,” said this week’s report by China Labour Watch. It is unlikely that Pegatron workers will receive any compensation.

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