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posted by Fnord666 on Friday February 14 2020, @06:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the who-needs-bags? dept.

Apple must pay store employees for bag-search time, court rules

Apple must pay its retail store employees for the time they spend waiting for mandatory bag searches at the end of their shifts, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The decision is retroactive, but it wasn't immediately clear how much Apple would have to pay.

The decision stems from a class-action lawsuit filed in 2013 by two former workers from Apple stores in New York and Los Angeles that claimed employees at physical locations were required to stand in lines up to 30 minutes long every day for store managers to check their bags to ensure they weren't smuggling home stolen goods. Failure to comply can lead to the employee's termination.

"Under the circumstances of this case and the realities of ordinary, 21st century life, we find farfetched and untenable Apple's claim that its bag-search policy can be justified as providing a benefit to its employees," Supreme Court Judge Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the decision (PDF).

[...] "Given that Apple requires its employees to wear Apple-branded apparel while working but directs them to remove or cover up such attire while outside the Apple store, it is reasonable to assume that some employees will carry their work uniform or a change of clothes in a bag in order to comply with Apple's compulsory dress code policy," she wrote.

[...] "Apple may tailor its bag-search policy as narrowly or broadly as it desires and may minimize the time required for exit searches," Cantil-Sakauye wrote. "But it must compensate those employees to whom the policy applies for the time spent waiting for and undergoing these searches."

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by slinches on Friday February 14 2020, @09:38PM (15 children)

    by slinches (5049) on Friday February 14 2020, @09:38PM (#958313)

    What's really messed up is that they are treating their employees like criminals and searching them routinely. If I was ever asked to let management comb through my belongings before I leave, I would let them know that the only other check I will ever get from them is my final paycheck.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by barbara hudson on Saturday February 15 2020, @12:39AM (11 children)

    by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday February 15 2020, @12:39AM (#958359) Journal
    I remember when a Walmart droid wanted my sales receipt and to search my shopping bags even though we were something like 30 feet from the checkout. "No, and if you insist I'm calling the police." That is the wonderful thing about consent - they can have a policy posted somewhere saying I agree to their rules just by shopping there, but once I've finished shopping, even such a policy is no longer in effect. MY property. And of course consent can be withdrawn at any time. Otherwise it's not consent.

    Or maybe it was my threat to have him charged with assault - you don't touch me without my consent, even if it's just to take MY sales receipt from MY hands.

    Treat me like a crook, I'm not afraid to call the cops, because I'm not a crook.

    Also I wouldn't allow a search of my purse. Prescription medications, letting someone rummage around in it is a HIPPA violation if I don't consent, and requiring consent to a search that violates HIPPA is both discriminatory and creating a toxic work place.

    Funny how it's always the people in the lowest paying jobs who have to put up with suspicion that only crooks want to work for them.

    I remember one place I worked at some self styled security Ayatollah had put a password in my BIOS - and everyone else's. "Other people need access to my computer even when I'm not here. You can't trust me, then I can't work for you. You're saying I can't trust them, then I can't work with someone I can't trust."

    The people I find I can't trust I will deal with without all the paranoid craziness. Because if you are patient, the opportunity will present itself.

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    • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @04:50AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @04:50AM (#958424)

      I can understand WalMart doing this...I hear way too much talk of how easy it is to rip off WalMart.

      I sure can't blame em for trying to stop this. It's almost like a modern rerun of that old three stooges and their electrical goods store.

      • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by barbara hudson on Saturday February 15 2020, @05:00AM

        by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday February 15 2020, @05:00AM (#958426) Journal
        Nobody else does it - must be the fault of having shitty upper management. Too cheap to hire or train mystery shoppers. Most theft is aided by or committed by employees, not customers. Letting employees know that there are mystery shoppers among the real clients keeps them at least partly in check. Treating your workers with a bit of respect doesn't hurt either.
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    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hendrikboom on Saturday February 15 2020, @05:12AM (1 child)

      by hendrikboom (1125) on Saturday February 15 2020, @05:12AM (#958428) Homepage Journal

      Funny how it's always the people in the lowest paying jobs who have to put up with suspicion that only crooks want to work for them.

      Boss thinks, "If we pay them so little they have to steal to make ends meet."

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @07:41AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @07:41AM (#958445)

        More like, "If I were paid a nonliving wage and constantly crapped on by my employer, I'd either leave or steal from them. So, they must be stealing from us since they aren't leaving."

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @06:37AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @06:37AM (#958437)

      Ah the sound of white privilege, so fresh.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @07:25AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @07:25AM (#958443)

        More like the sound of someone who's never heard of shopkeeper's privilege [wikipedia.org] and is complaining about Canadians violating a U.S. privacy law (HIPAA, not HIPPA and the nearest equivalent is PHIPA) that only applies to "covered entities" and their "business associates" [hhs.gov], not any random person you will run into, that are defined by 45 CFR 103.160 [cornell.edu] as "Covered entity means: (1) A health plan. (2) A health care clearinghouse. (3) A health care provider who transmits any health information in electronic form in connection with a transaction covered by this subchapter." and "Business associate: (1) Except as provided in paragraph (4) of this definition, business associate means, with respect to a covered entity, a person who: (i) On behalf of such covered entity or of an organized health care arrangement (as defined in this section) in which the covered entity participates, but other than in the capacity of a member of the workforce of such covered entity or arrangement, [does health related or business services on behalf of a covered entity].

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @12:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @12:30PM (#958472)

      But I think we're dancing around the core problem here: it's a supply and demand labor market, and demand is less than supply. So Apple and Walmart can treat their employees terribly and get away with it. If an employee doesn't like it, they're cheap and quick to replace.

      The capitalist response is, "Make supply and demand work for you, get a skill that's sought after and you won't have this problem." That's an individual solution, but it's not going to save the 42% of American workers that make less than $15 an hour. If you support capitalism, you're comfortable with shitty lives for half of the workers in the economy. (And even for the ones paid better than that, life isn't all roses. I've paid $6,500 in medical bills so far this year, and it's only February. I'm lucky, I can afford it. Many people can't.)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @01:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15 2020, @01:08PM (#958486)

      self styled security Ayatollah

      That is what you get for hiring a self confessed liar as security.
      From a people well known to be thieves and proud of it.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday February 15 2020, @05:14PM (2 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday February 15 2020, @05:14PM (#958547)

      Does Walmart actually do this somewhere? I've never seen this. Is it a regional or local thing? I'm not a big fan of the place, but I do go there sometimes, mainly because my local one has a RO water dispenser. I never see anyone checked at the door.

      The only places I've ever seen this are Costco and Fry's Electronics. With Costco, it's part of your membership agreement; since it's a "private club", they can do this, and if you refuse they can revoke your membership. But they don't check bags, they just check your receipt, mainly to make sure you haven't been overcharged by the cashier. Fry's Electronics isn't like this though, and they have zero right to stop you, so (years ago when I lived near one and sometimes shopped there) I just went around them. I wouldn't even bother with that store any more; Amazon and other online shops are putting them out of business.

      • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Saturday February 15 2020, @06:04PM (1 child)

        by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday February 15 2020, @06:04PM (#958562) Journal
        Walmart must have gotten enough people pissed off because they don't seem to be doing it the last couple of years, but for the longest time it was a thing.

        As for Costco, they are checking for theft, not that you're being overcharged. And you can still tell them to pound sand - even a private member club doesn't suspend your statutory rights, and if they cancel your membership, you have every right to sue for reinstatement, because they are a business selling to consumers, and all consumer laws still apply. Their membership is a "contract of adhesion" and as such they don't have the legal right to terminate your membership except for cause - and standing up for your legal rights is not a valid cause. So stand up for your rights and collect some punitive damages.

        Though I've found Costco isn't worth it - the stuff they sell is often available at other stores for less.

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        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16 2020, @01:58AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16 2020, @01:58AM (#958658)

          Just no. A contract of adhesion is one where one party does not have the ability to negotiate the terms, i.e. a "take it or leave it" situation. Nothing about that restricts your ability to voluntarily waive your right to not have security search your stuff and allow them to terminate it at will, especially when you explicitly, as opposed to implicitly, agree to them. Likewise, nothing in consumer laws requires them to sell you a membership either. Otherwise you would likewise be able to force private golf courses, restaurants, schools, etc. to let you use them too.

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday February 15 2020, @07:23AM (2 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 15 2020, @07:23AM (#958442) Homepage Journal

    That, definitely ^ !

    Few times in my life has anyone searched my belongings, and more than half of those were during my Navy days. (Seabag inspection - if you're missing a pair of socks, or a windbreaker, you have to replace it in short order.) Quite simply, no one has the authority to go poking through your stuff, to see if there's anything they want.

    Wal-Mart has set itself up for a world of hurt, by inspecting shopper's bags at the exit. The bags contain your personal property, not store merchandise. The inspector won't allow you to exit the store, unless you permit him/her to search your stuff? That is kidnapping. Call the law immediately, and inform them that you have been kidnapped, and that you are not free to leave. Wal-Mart are just as big assholes as Apple.

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    • (Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Saturday February 15 2020, @06:08PM (1 child)

      by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday February 15 2020, @06:08PM (#958564) Journal
      I'm amazed that anyone actually puts up with this bs. Especially since it can be financially rewarding to take them to small claims and get punitive damages. And any attempts to bar you from the store for standing up for your statutory rights won't end well for them .:.
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      • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Monday February 17 2020, @05:49PM

        by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Monday February 17 2020, @05:49PM (#959224) Journal

        You're on private property and it is a private company. Just what "statutory rights" do you think you have? (Hint: It ain't the 4th amendment, that does not apply to a private business.) They can't strip search you or lay hands on your person, but they have every right to search your possessions or forbid you from entering the property again (doubly so when they tell you in advance and you have the option to not enter the property in the first place).

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