Apple Bag Search Controversy: CA Supreme Court orders Tech Giant to Pay $30M Fine

Apple Bag Search Controversy: CA Supreme Court orders Tech Giant to Pay $30M Fine
Apple agrees to pay workers $30 million to settle the Apple bag checks lawsuit from 2013. 12,000 present and former Apple Store workers are set to earn around $1,200 as a result of the lawsuit. Photo : Christof Stache / Getty Images

Apple has agreed to pay workers $30 million to settle the Apple bag checks lawsuit from 2013.

The tech giant broke the law by failing to pay employees as they waited for mandated bag and iPhone screenings, according to California's highest court last year.

Now, the company has agreed to cover $30 million to resolve the lawsuit, and the employees' lawyers have advised them to agree.

In the settlement agreement obtained by Courthouse News, plaintiff attorney Lee Shalov stated, "This is a significant, non-reversionary settlement reached after nearly eight years of hard-fought litigation".

Apple Workers Against Apple's Security Policy

According to 9to5Mac, Apple has offered to pay the $30 million compensation for a complaint filed by Apple workers who claim they were subjected to off-the-clock security bag checks.

This follows more than eight years of back-and-forth in the case, which was first filed by Apple employees in 2013.

In 2015, Apple ended its contentious bag-check policy.

Apple Bag Checks Lawsuit

Apple had previously prevailed in district court, but the case was appealed to the California Supreme Court.

The judges decided that Apple employees were "clearly under Apple's control while awaiting, and during, the exit searches," dismissing Apple's contention that bringing a bag to work as a convenience for employees, especially since Apple believed staff didn't need to bring their iPhones to work.

In addition, the California Supreme Court Judge wrote, "Its characterization of the iPhone as unnecessary for its own employees is directly at odds with its description of the iPhone as an 'integrated and integral part of the lives of everyone else."

The court cited a 2017 interview with Tim Cook in which he said the iPhone was intertwined and vital to our lives, and that users wouldn't consider leaving homes without it.

Read Also: Is Your iPhone Stuck on the Apple Logo for 1 Hour or More? 4 Steps To Fix Your Device

Unnecessary Bag Checks To Apple Workers

By requiring Apple workers to locate a manager or security guard before leaving the store for lunch or shift ends, Apple exerted authority over its employees, according to the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court.

The company began using the method in 2013, with the Apple workers and was warned that if they did not follow the uptight security rules, the workers would be fired.

Employees claimed in the lawsuit that they were frequently required to wait for up to 45 minutes after their shift for this search to be finished and that they were not compensated for their time.

However, Apple insisted the searches were necessary to guarantee that employees were not concealing stolen electronic devices in their bags. Apple also stated that its practice did not limit its employees' actions during the actual search and that employees could opt out by not bringing their bags to work.

On the contrary, the California Supreme Court disagreed with that assessment, citing a legal obligation in the state's wage legislation that states that employees should be entitled to compensation while under the management of a firm.

As reported by TechCrunch, the plaintiffs' approval of the deal is still pending.

Assuming the process is completed, nearly 12,000 present and former Apple Store employees in California are set to earn a maximum award of around $1,200 as a result of the lawsuit.


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