Apple Inc. requires that all hourly retail store employees clock in and out for breaks, lunches, and when they are leaving the store after a shift. All said employees are required to undergo security checks when entering and exiting store premises. These security searches currently take place when the employees are not clocked in for compensation.
Several Apple store employees claim that these security searches require time for which they should be compensated, and have filed suit against the tech giant to recover losses. According to the suit, these security searches often take 10-15 minutes each time because there can be long lines and many items to check. Each of the employee’s personal devices must be verified and checked for ownership.
The employees argue that the required time to undergo security screenings are compensable because they are mandatory to perform job function. In addition, the employees have filed for back pay for all of the time spent in screenings previously. Apple Inc. filed a motion for summary judgement making note that the screenings are voluntary for those employees who want to bring a personal bag or an Apple product to work.
The motion for summary judgement was denied of the defendant. The federal district court found that there were cases wherein hourly employees were required to go through the security screening process even if they did not have a personal bag or an Apple device with them. The federal district court elected that this case best be held with a jury, which concludes that a jury would be able to decide if off-the-clock security screenings were in fact in violation of the FLSA.
Several conclusions can be reached from this case. Mandatory intensive and time-consuming security screenings can leave an employer liable for violating the FLSA and can raise questions from employees later on. Apple Inc. may be responsible for back-pay to these employees as well. In this particular case, the federal district court found that this decision should be held in trial so that a jury can determine the outcome.
Security Law Newsletter