Apple in November announced that it had settled a long-running lawsuit over employee bag checks. The iPhone maker agreed to pay $29.9 million to employees that were subjected to off-the-clock bag searches. Apple has posted the details about the settlement.
The class-action lawsuit stemmed from lawsuits brought by California employees in 2013 and 2015. Apple’s “Employee Package and Bag Searches” rule required managers to search an employee’s personal bags and devices after they clocked out at the end of the day, or in some cases when they took a lunch break. Plaintiffs claimed that routine wait times during these security checks deprived them of wages amounting to more than $1,400 per year. Employees claimed that the checks caused them to stay at work an extra 10 to 15 minutes.
Apple said the searches were to ensure that employees were not walking out with stolen electronics. The company argued that employees that did not want to be subjected to a bag search could simply not bring a bag to work. That argument initially proved successful for Apple, as Judge Alsup in 2015, Alsup dismissed the suit, noting 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.
However, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Apple needed to pay the employees for the time they had spent in bag searches.
Apple and lawyers for the Apple employees in California in November reached a settlement and asked a judge to approve it. Apple has agreed to pay $29.9 million, and the more than 14,000 workers involved in the lawsuit will receive payments based on the individual shifts worked.
Details about the Apple Bag Check Class Action Settlement can be found on Apple’s legal website. Documents are available for California employees subjected to bag checks between July 25, 2009, and August 10, 2015. The bag searches ended in 2015.