Los Angeles (AFP) – The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Apple has to pay employees to wait for their bags and personal electronics to go to work after they leave work.
The decision means the technology giant will have to pay millions of dollars to more than 12,000 hourly workers in California retail stores that fall under the mandatory bag search policy.
According to court documents, Apple employees have to get off before an exit search, which can take five to 20 minutes.
On the busiest days, employees can say that the waiting time can be up to 45 minutes. Those who refuse to be searched will be subject to discipline, including termination.
A lower court had previously sided with Apple and ruled that the time employees wait to find an exit cannot be considered “hours worked” under California law.
The plaintiffs escalated the case to the Ninth Circle Court of Appeals, which asked the Supreme Court to deal with the question of constitutional law.
The state’s Supreme Court dismissed Apple’s argument on Thursday that its employees could easily avoid a search by choosing not to bring a bag or iPhone to work.
A US Supreme Court ruling found that cell phones “have become so pervasive and haunted a part of everyday life that the proverbial visitor to Mars may conclude that they are an important feature of human anatomy.”
“The irony and contradiction of Apple’s reasoning must be taken into account,” added the court.
“The characterization of the iPhone as unnecessary for its own employees is in direct contradiction to its description of the iPhone as an” integrated and integral part “of everyone’s life.”
Apple officials could not be reached immediately for comment on the verdict.
The Apple case is the third that the Supreme Court has looked at in recent years regarding the minimum wage and the time that workers are under employer control.
In 2018, the court ruled that Starbucks had to pay for non-business hours – such as going through the checklist to close the store – which could take a few seconds or minutes after a person’s shift.