Apple Store Workers Complained Directly to Tim Cook About Bag Searches

Tim Cook was informed via email by at least two retail store workers about the embarrassing security checks they needed to go through, a court filing revealed yesterday, as reported by Reuters.

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Two emails have been uncovered by the filing, one of which came from a Beijing-based Apple Store worker.

In the 2012 email to Cook, with a subject line “Fearless Feedback from Apple Retail Specialist,” the employee said Apple’s policy implies the company does not trust its workers. “These procedures are often performed in front of gawking customers,” the employee wrote, adding that workers deserve to be treated with the same respect that Apple shows customers.

Another email, sent by a retail worker in Beijing to Cook and other managers in 2013, said Apple treats its employees “as animals” and thieves. It also said an emergency exit in the store is blocked by Apple products.

Apple CEO Tim Cook forwarded this email to top retail and human resources executives and asked them: “Is this true?”.

You may recall that a lawsuit was filed against Apple in 2013 by two plaintiffs, Amanda Friekin and Dean Pelle, who claimed that bag searches were conducted each time a sales rep left the store. These “screens” are meant to fight theft, but as a result workers are deprived of roughly $1,500 per year in unpaid wages.

Apple’s position on the matter – as presented by lawyers – is that these workers brought security checks on themselves as, according to Apple’s policy, screens aren’t mandatory.

A hearing in the lawsuit will take place on July 2.

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • John

    Why does checking bags lead to $1,500 per year in unpaid wages? I don’t see the connection there unless there are trying to estimate the wage portions that go to the people who are employed to check bags, or something.

  • Dr. AL

    How is this different than other retail places. Bring a bag, have it searched by a manager before you leave. It’s called life.

    You do have the option of not bringing a bag to work…

  • Jey

    @John, the $1500 per year in unpaid wages is in reference to how long these employees have to wait after their shift is off, to get their bags checked, aka 10-15 minutes. They’re not getting paid to stand there and wait, is what they are arguing about. Not really a fan of employees like this, as I’ve seen a lot of people feel entitled to every last second they are in-store working, which they are, but a lot of retail places check your bags, and that 10-15 minutes (most of the times its 5 minutes), will not kill you. If you’re that stingy on time, quit.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    It might be called life, but you know what else can be called life? Not having your bag checked every night. I would not only call this life, but a better life.

    Or how about this – if a company has over $190,000,000,000 in the bank, how about they pay their employees for their time?

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    If waiting 10-15 minutes every day without getting paid won’t kill them, then I don’t think it will kill a company with over $190,000,000,000 in cash to pay their employees for a few more minutes every day either.

  • m Arch Tom’s on Bar N Ass

    QUOTE:
    “These procedures are often performed in front of gawking customers,” the employee wrote, adding that workers deserve to be treated with the same respect that Apple shows customers.

    Another email, sent by a retail worker in Beijing to Cook and other managers in 2013, said Apple treats its employees “as animals” and thieves. It also said an emergency exit in the store is blocked by Apple products. ”

    ———————————————-

    Dear workers @ apple store Beijing, we all understand Your concern and the embarrassing situations and conditions all of EU have to going through when bag searches take place in any store of Apple retail network. ( a retail network of any apple subsidiary ). All of US wish these events were not required when reasonable suspicion of theft and intentions of stealing were brought to our attention unfortunately, it is not possible for Apple policies are set in accordance to all of EU requesting to be all equals. ( employees and retail network employees are all equals across the worldwide retail network of Apple Retail Business Unit ). in fact, your co-workers on this side of the planet, EU and the 28 member states, have no respect/show no respect for customers, implying Apple doesn’t show respect for customers also. All of US , customers on this side of the planet, can tell we are not gawking at apple employees bag searches; All of US customers are in fact quite satisfied with seeing these crabs ” working ” at apple retail network ( i.e: selling something that’s been paid already and waiting to go to a party for free-food, and a party where they don’t even wash their dishes ), being sent on the street and to start their new life as beggars, for they will find no other job opportunity in any of our own businesses within capitalism western societies.
    all of US are looking forward to having being clear and loud.
    REM and loosing my religion. ( i.e: harem, ARM )

  • FragilityG4

    I’ve worked in loss prevention, majority of theft is by employees. Perhaps they shouldn’t conduct the searches in front of customers but if that’s where the employee exits, that’s where it has to be done.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Probably a good argument for raising the minimum wage. If people were paid enough to live comfortably they probably wouldn’t be stealing.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Exactly. I find it odd that anyone argues that submitting to mandatory searches on your own time is reasonable. Personally I don’t think they have a right to search ones personal belongings anyways, this is a free country, let alone demand that it be done on the employees own time.

  • FragilityG4

    Except companies would raise prices to make up the difference so it’s status quo.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Shouldn’t the base cost of goods include the cost of a living wage for the people who made it? No one should be working full time and still not able to make a living. Especially when these “companies” are making astronomical profits.

  • FragilityG4

    In a perfect world yes, but this is reality.

  • Peter Pottinger

    I can proudly say I’ve never been bag-searched my whole entire life!

  • Glen Cameron

    I work part time at a clothing retailer. They search you every time you leave the store. But it’s done in the back employee only area where no customers can see. Also you clock out after the search is done. So it’s on their time not yours. Apple just needs to adjust a bit and its a policy that works fine.