Workers Brought Security Checks on Themselves, Apple Lawyers Say

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Apple’s retail employees aren’t entitled to wages for the time spent waiting on bag searches, because the security checks aren’t mandatory, the company’s lawyers said in court. Apple is in the hot seat, because if the judge finds those security checks were required, the company would have to pay for all that time under the Fair Labor Standards Act, reports The Recorder.

You may recall that last year two former Apple Store employees, Amanda Frlekin and Adam Kilker, filed a lawsuit in San Francisco against Apple claiming that retail employees were deprived of roughly $1,500 a year in unpaid wages due to bag searches and clearance checks when they leave for their meal breaks and clock out at the end of their shift.

As Julie Dunne, co-chairperson of Littler Mendelson’s retail practice group, informed US District Judge William Alsup, people are bringing laptops to watch movies and iPods to listen to music while they commute.

The judge had an interesting question though:

First he questioned the plaintiffs’ assertion that employees need the items they bring to work. “I got along for 60 years without a cellphone,” Alsup said. “Why is it so important that someone has a cellphone?”

In a motion for a summary judgment, Apple is defending its position by claiming that those security checks were optional, but the plaintiff’s lawyers say Apple’s lawyers are stitching up the law.

“Because Apple does not require any employee to bring a bag or personal Apple technology to work, employees who report to work without bags or personal technology are fully capable of performing their jobs,” Dunne’s team wrote in its motion for summary judgment.

It is worth noting here that in their motion Apple’s attorneys brought up the employment history for the named plaintiffs, and they don’t look good: Amanda Frlekin was counseled for taking too long on her breaks, and according to Apple’s lawyers called her manager a c*nt. Adam Kilker was fired last year after being caught in a scheme where he used his employee discount to purchase a device and return it at another store for a full-price refund. The judge didn’t address the above employment history yesterday.

Judge Alsup promised to issue a ruling on summary judgment within a week.