The Apple Store’s policy to check employees backpacks after they check out from work has been turned into a class-action lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco certified the case as a class-action on Thursday, after former employees sued Apple for conducting the bag searches at the company’s 52 retail stores in California.
The case has been in the works since 2013 when a group of employees filed a lawsuit against the iPhone-maker, claiming Apple’s ‘personal package and bag search’ policy causes staff to stand around for 5 to 15 minutes every time they clock out for the day, or leave on a lunch break. Apple workers claim they’re being shorted around $1,500 a year in unpaid wages while waiting around.
Two Apple retail store workers complained directly to Tim Cook that the policy was embarrassing, demeaning, and in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to court documents obtained by Reuters, one worker told Cook in a 2012 message that Apple managers “are required to treat ‘valued’ employees as criminals.”
The class-action case now includes more 12,000 members comprised of current and former employees.
By certifying the lawsuit as a class action, plaintiffs now have more leverage to negotiate a settlement. Apple argued in court that the case wasn’t fit for class action status because not all store managers conducted bag searches to check for stolen merchandise, and those searches only took a small amount of time which doesn’t deserve compensation.