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Apple Retailer Facing Class Action Suit Over Employee Bag Checks

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  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @01:50AM (#44420207)
    hiring people to work in your store who can't afford the product. Ford paid his workers well so they could afford his card. Apple store has to search it's workers to prevent theft. Maybe if they paid them better they wouldn't have to worry about this.
    • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @01:53AM (#44420219) Homepage Journal

      hiring people to work in your store who can't afford the product.

      Ford paid his workers well so they could afford his card.

      Apple store has to search it's workers to prevent theft. Maybe if they paid them better they wouldn't have to worry about this.

      well, they're geniuses, so they might get sneaky!
      how they think this isn't unpaid overtime though... it's pretty fucking obvious.

      also, who is checking the managers bags? they must be managers only in title because I've never seen a real manager do shit like bag checks.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:36AM (#44420421)

        > also, who is checking the managers bags?

        Obviously, VP of Bag Checking and Chief Bag Checking Officer, duh.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:45AM (#44420457)

        Given that this is only at two stores, I would bet heavily that this is two managers' policy, not Apple's. Certainly at previous crappy jobs (not at apple) I've met managers that have thought it was entirely okay to try and make you turn up half an hour early for things like team briefs and bag searches. The head office HR department had a shit fit, and said it was nothing to do with the company when I phoned up and suggested that that violated minimum wage law.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The department store I worked at had this same policy but only after half a dozen employees had tried to sneak out a few items in the past. They try to make it as painless as possible though. We had a locker room where we could store all our stuff and it was connected to the main floor. That way, they only had to give us a simple pat down when we entered and left the locker room and they did not need to check our bags anymore.
        • Back in the day I had a roommate that worked at a Baskin Robins that was breaking all kinds of employment rules. For example they were paid minimum wage but if the cash in the drawer didn't match up to what he thought it should, he'd take it out of their pay. Well employment law was the only thing he was breaking, I called the corporate office and it turned out that they had a rule that you had to pay more than minimum wage anyhow. You find that with chains sometimes, they have internal wage rules higher th

    • by show me altoids (1183399) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:01AM (#44420245)
      Too bad I don't have mod points, I get them very often. Treating your employees like criminals is stupid. And you are 100% right about Ford, but for better or worse the world is different now in many ways, Apple's employees are a tiny part of the total population.
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:13AM (#44420293)

      The Apple Store wages are plenty to buy a lot of products they sell. Not everything, but I doubt that 90% of electronics store employees could buy the most expensive 20% of the products on sale either. That's besides the point because retail theft isn't about "oh, I can't afford this and want to own it" anyway. It's about "oh, I can resell this and supplement my income quite handsomely". Most of the stuff people shoplift from supermarkets (staff or customers) isn't stuff that's very overall expensive, but stuff that's easy to steal and fences well like batteries and razors. High value per unit volume, lots of volume available, fungible.

      Apple basically has no reason to be doing these checks because there's nothing about their employees or product that makes it any more likely to be stolen than anywhere else. They hardly keep anything out on the shopfloor for deus' sake.

      • by jjohnson (62583) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:17AM (#44420309) Homepage

        Most loss in retail is employee theft. When I worked at a department store, the loss prevention guys were at the doors at closing, letting employees out and checking their bags. When they were patrolling the floor during business hours, they kept a closer eye on employees than on customers. That's just a fact of life no matter what your retail segment is. In fact, I'd bet it's worse for Apple stores because their products are small, easily stolen, and fetch much higher prices than razor blades.

        • Most loss in retail is employee theft.

          That's just a fact of life no matter what your retail segment is.

          Not necessarily. It may depend on the size of the store and how it's managed, but in my more than a decade of working in retail the shoplifting has been by customers, not staff.

        • Most loss in retail is employee theft.

          That is likely not entirely true (if even partially true). I worked in retail for quite some time and that was the mantra of every head of loss prevention but one. That one explained that the statistics that statement is based on are flawed. The correct interpretation of that study was that employees caught stealing from the store admitted to stealing more from the store than outsiders caught stealing admitted. The original study that is the source of that statement was based on interviews with people caugh

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:24AM (#44420357)

      Ford paid his workers well so they could afford his card.

      No, he didn't. He didn't even pay them well so they could afford his cars.

      Ford paid them well because he was suffering horribly from employee turnover as they worked for him long enough to learn their job and then moved on to a better-paid job elsewhere. Increasing their wages lead to a dramatic reduction in employee turnover, and increased productivity enough to justify the extra pay.

      I've no idea why this urban legend continues to flourish when it's so clearly retarded. If he'd paid them more so they could afford his cars, they were at least as likely to spend the money with a competitor, or spend it on something more useful to them.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Maybe if they paid them better they wouldn't have to worry about this.

      You expect people in a jewelry store to afford all the jewelry in the store? If you handle one of Intel's E7-8870 processors it sells for $4616 in bulk, a pretty solid post-tax income if you could say it broke and sell it on eBay instead. Sure bring out the Apple hate but I'm thinking they DO have to worry about this almost regardless of how much they pay them. Never mind that I've had a friend that's been a grocery store manager, even for absurdly small sums you have employee theft. As long as they think t

    • by c0lo (1497653)
      It's not affordability, it's fashion [nymag.com]
    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      Just because your employees cant afford the product you sell does not mean its okay for them to steal. You cant justify theft. Should every person who works for Ferrari be entitled to afford an Ferrari (Car analogy!)? If Apple chooses to pay shit then don't work for them. Retail jobs are high turnover because its unskilled labor and they don't want to pay 30k+/yr + benefits to someone who could be replaced by any schmuck who walks in of the street. So they pay shit in the hopes that the employee gets tired

  • by billstewart (78916) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @01:56AM (#44420225) Journal

    If Apple's actions are being described correctly, that's time that clearly belongs to be on the clock.

  • I never go to Apple stores.
  • 2/3rds of loss in retail is from employee theft. At a place like Apple outlets, where the products are small, expensive, and easily turned over for cash to friends or pawn shops, I'd imagine it's even higher. Not that this fact excuses forcing unpaid overtime on your workers, but I'm not surprised they're doing bag checks.

    • Re:Typical (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:35AM (#44420415)

      2/3rds of loss in retail is from employee theft. At a place like Apple outlets, where the products are small, expensive, and easily turned over for cash to friends or pawn shops, I'd imagine it's even higher. Not that this fact excuses forcing unpaid overtime on your workers, but I'm not surprised they're doing bag checks.

      The bag check isn't the problem.

      Employers reserve that right even in countries with real employer protection. What isn't Kosher is the fact they have to do it unpaid. If an employer wants to screen you on your way out that time must be paid for by the employer.

      Same for when an employee takes a break. In retail environments your breaks are timed (I've even heard they are even unpaid in the US), so a screening should not be permitted to detract from that time.

      I work in a secure facility, I clock on from the first the moment I enter the building. Even if it takes me 5 minutes to get to my desk. Then again I work in a country that punishes employers for taking advantage of employees.

      • by gagol (583737)

        I work in a country that punishes employers for taking advantage of employees.

        May I cordially ask which country is it? (Germany is my 1st bet...)

        • by Kjella (173770)

          May I cordially ask which country is it? (Germany is my 1st bet...)

          From his posting history I'd say Australia is a safe bet - but same here in Norway. Currently they don't have a wall clock where I work so I'm awarded five minutes on the online check-in to compensate me for the time to take the elevator, get to my office, log in to my computer and sign in. So if I check in at 8:05 AM wall time, it registers as if I arrived at 8 AM sharp. First place I've worked that actually have a clock system though, usually I've just filled out time sheets manually.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            May I cordially ask which country is it? (Germany is my 1st bet...)

            From his posting history I'd say Australia is a safe bet - but same here in Norway. Currently they don't have a wall clock where I work so I'm awarded five minutes on the online check-in to compensate me for the time to take the elevator, get to my office, log in to my computer and sign in. So if I check in at 8:05 AM wall time, it registers as if I arrived at 8 AM sharp. First place I've worked that actually have a clock system though, usually I've just filled out time sheets manually.

            Yep, Australia.

            Not quite as good as Norway when it comes to workers rights.

            I'm covered by an agreement that specifies if I work, I get paid (but my employer is a bit of a special case). Other Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA) in Oz give you time off in lieu rather than overtime pay but compensation for time worked is enshrined in law here. Some EBA's are abusive even though the courts crack down on it as much as they can.

            Even though we get clocked by the security system, we still do timesheets

            • Similar protections exist in the UK; a call centre had such shitty software it could take 20 minutes for the tracking software to load, and so they made people go in 20minutes before work in order to log on. They were taken to court over this and lost.

  • I have no sympathy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cwebster (100824)

    No sympathy whatsoever.

    As an airline pilot I do not get paid while I wait in line and am checked by the TSA. I do not get paid while I wait in line for customs. I do not get paid while I get the flight paperwork and verify it is safe and legal. I do not get paid while preparing and inspecting the airplane for flight. I do not get paid while I wait for everyone to get on the plane and coordinate with gate, ramp, fuel, maintenance and catering to ensure an on-time departure.

    • by Jiro (131519) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:22AM (#44420343)

      I would imagine that aiurplane pilots are not paid by the hour, which these guys are.

      • by whois (27479) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @04:59AM (#44420923) Homepage

        They are actually, but every minute they're not paid has been negotiated by the airline unions. If you've ever had your flight delayed due to maintenance after they've pushed back from the gate? Yeah, that's an asshole pilot and cabin crew who knew the plane wasn't ready to fly, but wanted to start the clock on their paycheck.

        They don't get paid until the doors are closed and they're away from the gate, so sitting on the runway with no air conditioning is better for them than delaying your boarding. I won't say they don't deserve to be paid, but inconveniencing 300 people to please 10 isn't the right way to do things. Then topping that with federal laws that don't allow people to get up and go to the bathroom, or turn their phones on because the plane is "taxiing" technically even though it's sitting there with the wheels off, or whatever they're doing to it.

    • by victorhooi (830021) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:23AM (#44420351)

      Hi,

      Hmm, I believe airline pilots are a little bit different to other hourly employees.

      They're paid for time "in-flight" - which is why you probably don't get paid for say, the TSA security checks. However, apparently there's a minimum base amount they're paid, even if they sit around doing nothing.

      So we're not exactly comparing apples to apples here (that, and I suspect pilot salaries probably aren't exactly the same as retail employee salaries).

      Last time I heard, airline attendants were the same (http://mentalfloss.com/article/31044/10-shocking-secrets-flight-attendants).

      Cheers,
      Victor

    • Question, as an airline pilot are you given a flat salary, paid per mile flown, or per hour at the controls?
    • by julesh (229690)

      No sympathy whatsoever.

      As an airline pilot I do not get paid while I wait in line and am checked by the TSA. I do not get paid while I wait in line for customs. I do not get paid while I get the flight paperwork and verify it is safe and legal. I do not get paid while preparing and inspecting the airplane for flight. I do not get paid while I wait for everyone to get on the plane and coordinate with gate, ramp, fuel, maintenance and catering to ensure an on-time departure.

      I though airline pilots were paid an annual salary, not an hourly rate...?

      • by BZ (40346)

        Airline pilots are typically paid an hourly rate, but only for flight hours. It's pretty messed up.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          Especially if it's an airline like QANTAS that flies in pilots from countries with lower wages to work on Australian domestic flights for a month at a time, and continues to pay them in the wage of the other country.
    • by agendi (684385)
      Comparing salaried pilot to paid by the hour retail floor monkey. Totally the same thing. For what it's worth, I have sympathy for them and for your work conditions as you describe them. I think it sucks that you aren't paid time spent waiting on the TSA or flight paperwork etc. I think it is odd though that you complain about off-the-clock working, as they do, and you don't think it's okay for them to try to redress this?
    • by raehl (609729) <raehl311 AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:33AM (#44420397) Homepage

      As an airline pilot, you've (well, your union, on your behalf) negotiated a contract with the airline where your pay is based on getting the plane where it needs to go, and you are paid for all activities necessary to accomplish the task for which you are paid for.

      Also known as, AIRLINE PILOTS ARE NOT HOURLY EMPLOYEES.

      I am sure that, once you add up all the time you spend on all of your job-related activities, your wage + time and a half for hours over 40 per week, greatly exceeds the minimum wage.

      Just like every other salaried employee who doesn't make any more money when it's crunch time and you have to pull 10-12 hour days to get shit done. It's called a job description, and being paid for the job (get plane from A to B) instead of the time (you were in airports/planes from 9 AM to 8 PM.)

      If you don't like the terms of your contract, either renegotiate it so you are paid by the hour instead of by the trip (or flight hour), or work somewhere else. I hear Apple stores are hiring.

      Note that Apple stores probably don't have benefits like medical, dental, or free flights on any domestic carrier on a space-available basis, and your hourly wage will plummet vs. your flight-hour wage, but at least you'll get a slight increase on your paycheck if customs takes a little longer to clear!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by abigsmurf (919188)
        Former airport McDonalds worker here. Your post, and most of the posts replying to this guy amuse me a lot.

        I was an hourly employee and I had to go through security before starting my shift. This was unpaid and there were often queues. It was the same for all the staff working airside who were paid by the hour.
        • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @04:50AM (#44420877)

          Former airport McDonalds worker here. Your post, and most of the posts replying to this guy amuse me a lot. I was an hourly employee and I had to go through security before starting my shift. This was unpaid and there were often queues. It was the same for all the staff working airside who were paid by the hour.

          Yes, but those delays were imposed by the TSA and/or airport, not McDonalds or the other vendors. I'm sure you sometimes got stuck in traffic on the way to the airport too - again not a delay caused by your employer. These people are having to wait at the direction of Apple, their employer, so your example is not comparable.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      No sympathy whatsoever.

      As an airline pilot I do not get paid while I wait in line and am checked by the TSA. I do not get paid while I wait in line for customs. I do not get paid while I get the flight paperwork and verify it is safe and legal. I do not get paid while preparing and inspecting the airplane for flight. I do not get paid while I wait for everyone to get on the plane and coordinate with gate, ramp, fuel, maintenance and catering to ensure an on-time departure.

      Do you get paid by the hour?

      If not these duties are part of your regular salary. Get a better union and negotiate

      If so, get a better union and make sure you get paid for it.

      I've got no sympathy for an employee who wont stand up for themselves. At least these retail staffers are willing to fight for fair pay and conditions.

    • by lxs (131946)

      I bet that when you do get paid it's far more than minimum wage, which is compensation for your terrible inconvenience. Besides, your lack of sympathy for people with worse jobs than you makes you a selfish dick.

    • by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @03:09AM (#44420545) Homepage

      That is like saying "I'm a whiny gutless arse hole" because "I'm a whiny gutless arse hole" every one deserves to be like "whiny gutless arse holes". Sorry pal that's now how it works in a fair society. If an employer makes demands upon your time, you deserve to be fairly compensated for it.

      I have sympathy for anyone who gets ripped off by their employer or in any way abused. It's pretty lame to be a cowardly victim and then thinks it fair for every one to get abused that way. Gee's dude I also hope they grope your genitals, radiate you arse and probe you upon a regular basis because it sounds like they should as for the rest of humanity any employer that treats it's employees like that deserves to be run out of business by vengeful unions.

    • by mendax (114116)

      I believe that you are paid far more than the lowly Apple Store clerk, unless you are one of those pilots who work for one of those awful regional airlines. I find your lack of sympathy to be quite callous and arrogant. But I am hardly in a position to judge you.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      No sympathy whatsoever. As an airline pilot I do not get paid while I wait in line and am checked by the TSA. I do not get paid while I wait in line for customs. I do not get paid while I get the flight paperwork and verify it is safe and legal. I do not get paid while preparing and inspecting the airplane for flight. I do not get paid while I wait for everyone to get on the plane and coordinate with gate, ramp, fuel, maintenance and catering to ensure an on-time departure.

      With all due respect, it's the flight industry that's got this backwards not the other way around. Is it your fault if the plane has a problem and you're grounded for half an hour extra? No, you're on the job, in your job uniform, ready to do your job but the risk is now transferred to you so now you're working half an hour "overtime" for free. That's not how it should be. I'm a strict believer in the "any time spent at work is work" principle, you should be able to clock in when you walk in the door (or pa

    • Uh, airline piloting is a wee bit different than retail.

      Salaried positions often give you more freedom and flexibility, a perk which is offset by additional occupational obligations. If you think you should be paid overtime for those additional requirements (and I'm not disagreeing with you), you or your union needs to negotiate a better contract.

      Retail is generally a wage position: the job says $start-o'clock to $end-o'clock, those are your hours, anything more is overtime.

      Oh, and you get to fly planes, n

    • by gagol (583737)
      I know airline pilots are vastly underpaid, and mostly work out of passion. I am the same in y own field... But it is not a reason to let the whole society go down the spiral of the lowest denominator. If you want to have some shards of equality and fairness in your job one day, NOW is the time to take a stand.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No sympathy huh? How sociopathic of you. Just because you have a shitty job, it doesn't justify bringing everyone else down to your level.

      This is why the USA is so fucked up right now. Whenever someone else has a job with better pay and better working conditions, instead of demanding that your pay and working conditions improve, people with your mindset complain that the other guy is lazy, overpaid and undeserving of better treatment. Your attitude is part of the problem, not the solution.

  • Evil Apple (Score:2, Informative)

    by mendax (114116)

    In California, under state law it is very expensive for an employer to employ shenanigans like this. The fines can be quite large, the litigation can be quite expensive, and there is a potential for the employees to be paid wages while the issue is being resolved by the courts (at least as I understand the law). There is a reason why employers don't like California regulations, employees have the potential to grab the employer by the balls and twist and twist if the state EDD finds that the charges have m

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:18AM (#44420323)

    It's about that Apple "Experience"........

    • by gagol (583737)
      Dont Apple takes for granted the their customers are criminals and pirates? Well, this is just an extension of their corp. culture...
  • Surely if you're going to steal something, you'd do it on company time.

  • When I worked at Tandy Computers in the late 80's at their manufacturing facility as a motherboard repair technician, they had a similar system to check employees as they left the facility. However, I recall that the time clock was AFTER the checkpoint, so you were being paid while standing in the queue waiting to be checked. This could take 10-20 minutes each shift, depending on how quickly you got to the queue. Most of the workers were relatively low pay, hourly production line workers.

    I do think the way

  • by twistedcubic (577194) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:54AM (#44420487)
    At the West Hollywood Best Buy I saw employees being visually inspected by a manager as they exited the store single file after closing. At a Culver City Best Buy one of the employees told me they get searched. I didn't believe him until I saw it being done at another location. Pretty humiliating. Hopefully the kids who work there now realize this is not the type of job you want to do long term.
  • by epine (68316) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @03:49AM (#44420671)

    Jan Wong [wikipedia.org]

    In 2006, Wong attracted attention by imitating the work of Barbara Ehrenreich and going undercover as a cleaning lady in wealthy Toronto homes. While employed by the Globe and Mail as a reporter Jan Wong impersonated a maid and then wrote about her experiences in a five-part series on low-income living.

    There were many social issues discussed in this series of articles, the majority of which I didn't agree with as framed. One issue she pointed out was that these barely-literate low-income scullery-scrubs few of whom had driver's licences were expected to haul vacuum cleaners through the Toronto metro system between jobs that were not as proximal as a modern UPS delivery route.

    Brown Down: UPS Drivers Vs. The UPS Algorithm [fastcompany.com]

    No, the scheduling algorithm employed by the scullery-scrub dispatch office involved chewing up small bits of paper and spitting them at a map, because they were getting away with NOT PAYING for the delivery of vacuum cleaners by their downtrodden and raw-fingered cleaning staff. Many of these barely-solvent workers were putting in eight hour on job sites, plus another four hours (unpaid) moving between job sites, toting equipment that wasn't even their own for less than the cost of delivering the equipment by any other business method.

    Jan Wong could have gone to war over a clear violation of labour fairness, but she instead decided to do a lot of public hang-wringing over systemic issues unlikely to ever change.

    It's Apple's job to politely inform their store managers that this violates accepted labour practice and to put an end to it as thoroughly as they do with unwelcome rumours about unfinished products.

    I once spoke to an ex IBM employee in the early 1980s who said he left IBM because he could get anything done. His department was under such tight security that it took him an hour to get to his desk in the morning and another hour to leave it in the afternoon. I think part of that was fetching his work product from a secure area and returning it there again with an inspection. He was well paid for the whole ordeal, until it finally drove him nuts.

    The rule in a democratic salary market is that time is money. Even if the money is too small to spit at from the perspective of the person writing the cheques.

    An anecdote I liked from that series was the incident(s) where business owners tried to bully her out of using street parking in front of their stores (which they would prefer to see used by customers) on the presumption that she was timid and uneducated. It almost blew her cover confessing she knew how to drive in the hiring interview. I think she had to tell some huge sob story to make her desperation believable to take such a job as a person who could hold down a driver's licence.

  • by pbjones (315127) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @03:54AM (#44420701)

    This is just a story about 2 stores, and my guess is that it's about paranoid managers who have lost stock in the past. No news here.

  • It seems as though Apple has more security and protections on preventing stuff from being taken by employees than the NSA.

  • by rikkards (98006) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @05:54AM (#44421163) Journal

    Look at the YMCA personal trainers, ask them about their "mandatory" volunteering they do each week
    .
    "But isn't the YMCA a charity you ask?" Why yes and no. The YMCA that gives aid to the homeless and such sure but the gym portion is a whoooole different entity.

    I knew an accountant who used to audit them and trust me they knew how to work the system and what was right and what was wrong.

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