A U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit against Apple brought by a group of retail store employees over the company’s policy of conducting required searches of personal bags after employees had clocked out for meal breaks or at the end of their day. The class action lawsuit, dismissed by U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Saturday, covered thousands of Apple retail employees in California.
The ruling by a San Francisco federal judge Saturday releases the company from having to compensate as many 12,400 former and current employees from 52 stores throughout the state a few dollars a day for time spent over a six-year period having their bags and Apple devices searched at meal breaks and after their shifts. A law professor who reviewed filings in the case estimated Apple could have been be on the hook for as much as $60 million, plus penalties.
Judge Alsup noted in his ruling that workers could have avoided the searches by not bringing bags with them to work. “It is undisputed that some employees did not bring bags to work and thereby did not have to be searched when they left the store,” he said.
While the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled last year that workers don’t have a federal right to be paid for time spent in post-shift security searches, the decision had left an opening for the California Apple employees to pursue their case under California law.
“Plaintiffs are disappointed in the court’s ruling and are exploring their options, including an appeal,” Lee Shalov, a lawyer for the workers, said in an e-mail.
An Apple representative didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.