back to article Judge bins Apple Store end-of-shift shakedown lawsuit

Apple Store employees are better off turning up to work without a bag, if – that is – they want to avoid being frisked for stolen goods at the end of their shifts. On Saturday, a judge chucked out a class action lawsuit that had been brought against Apple by two ex-staffers, who had objected to the shake downs taking place …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't work at a place...

    that has so little trust and regard for their own staff.

    1. Kebablog

      Re: I wouldn't work at a place...

      It's the norm for most retail jobs. If you take a bag in, then it's either left in security or get searched on the way out.

      1. ukgnome

        Re: I wouldn't work at a place...

        Back in the 90's I would search my staff at the pub I managed.

        Not because I thought they had stolen anything, but because a few of them were well fit.

    2. Craig 2
      FAIL

      Re: I wouldn't work at a place...

      "I wouldn't work at a place...

      that has so little trust and regard for their own staff."

      Yea, because they brought in the search rules before anything ever went missing...

      1. ratfox Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: I wouldn't work at a place...

        I wouldn't work at a place that has so little trust and regard for their own staff.

        I suppose it's great you are able to find a job so easily that you can afford to set conditions, then.

    3. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: I wouldn't work at a place...

      Stolen goods would bring down their 33 Billion a quarter profits. It isn't like their staff actually contribute to that in any significant way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wouldn't work at a place...

        Stolen goods would bring down their 33 Billion a quarter profits. It isn't like their staff actually contribute to that in any significant way.

        So you would condone some theft then? Where would you stop? Everyone has at least one of each of every product in the shop? Maybe they could steal some customer gear, just for the variation? Where do you draw the line with that attitude? Would it be OK for you to steal someone's phone because they happen to have a big car?

        Theft is wrong, and the bag search is easy to avoid by not taking a bag (and was no doubt mentioned in the contract they signed).

    4. Turtle

      Re: I wouldn't work at a place...

      "I wouldn't work at a place that has so little trust and regard for their own staff."

      Well it's too bad that they didn't know about this earlier, because if they did know, they would have changed their policy immediately.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wouldn't work at a place...

      So you don't want to work at a place that has high value products. Gotcha.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Judges are cool

    Just wait until security searches his briefcase.... and someone says if you don't like it, don't bring one?? How long do you think the search of the Judge's briefcase(s) will continue??

    Just remember - It's good to be the King!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Judges are cool

      Most or perhaps all that this point federal courthouses in the US are subject to search for everyone coming in. Every person goes through a metal detector, every bag gets searched. At least around here, judges are subject to the same searches as everyone else.

  3. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Of course, any employer wishing to retain staff who leave the front door with the appropriate fashion accessories for their illustrious position in life would probably be better off having a bag-check somewhere outside the turnstiles.

    Sadly, that would spoil the look of the all-glass cube o' tat.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If memory serves

    the case - as reported by El Reg - did not hinge on the employees protesting the possibility of being searched, but the Apple security bods require them to stand in line for an inordinate amount of time, accumulating in an hour or longer a week, and not being paid for what was perceived by them as overtime.

    So this sounds like only half a judgement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If memory serves

      > stand in line for an inordinate amount of time, accumulating in an hour or longer a week, and not being paid for what was perceived by them as overtime.

      Don't bring a bloody bag then. Simple. We invented these things called "pockets". They are really, really handy.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: If memory serves

        "Pocket" = "Bag in clothes". I know that there are items of clothing with pockets big enough for an iPad, and will easily accommodate an iPhone. Even allowing for a uniform (I've never been in an Apple store, so I don't know what geniuses wear), a gilet, jacket or coat would give ample smuggling opportunities. So, presumably, the same search requirements apply to pockets too? If not, why not?

  5. David Austin

    Seems impractical...

    At bare minimum you'll need somewhere to stash house keys and ID, and plausibly Wallet (For Bus/Car Park), Car Keys or Bike gear, a snack depending on shift length, and a phone (Presumably of the i variety to show suitable amounts of employee loyalty)

    If Apple aren't providing a secure place to store those items outside their security perimeter, I think you could reasonably argue that a bag of some description is necessary...

    I wouldn't have thought it would be worth the Bad PR and miser attitude Apple will get for this, over paying their staff an extra 30 mins wherever they need to do a bag search.

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    Ick.

    What kind of people tolerate this? And when the case is really over the unpaid hour-long queue for such searches?

    Sorry, you think I have something, you can make a request to me on a one-off basis, or call a policeman. Neither you, nor your security, get to touch my property without permission.

    Additionally, you have stock control, presumably. You KNOW if something is missing. If it's missing, and you suspect staff, call the police. And if I spend a vast portion of my week being searched by you, you either need to tone down the accusations or, guess what, call the police - because I'm going to walk out that door. I'm sure after a week of that (or being "restrained using reasonable force" by security until police turn up), the police will tell you where to go.

    If your stock control and supervision is that bad that you have to search everyone, you might want to invest in, say, a computer system of some kind. Hell, maybe one with portable devices that can audit stock levels or similar?

    Not bringing a bag is not an option if you have anything you want to bring to work. Sanitary products for ladies? Drugs for confidential medical conditions? You have NO right to be rooting through that stuff.

    Provide your staff lockers. Put in a stock control system. Take the normal "spoilage" percentage as destruction / loss of products as a result of theft that every retail store does.

    But, honestly, I judge the workers more for tolerating it. See that door? That's my time up. I'm outta here. You want to call the police as you suspect I have stolen something, please do so. That'll get old after about a week.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A Stock control System

      has its limitations as pretty well any retailer will tell you.

      If a store has products that can be 'fondled' by customers and staff then there will be wastage.

      You will often employ security guards to watch for customer lifing stuff. They are also there to stop staff from nicking the products.

      This applies to any retailer not only Apple.

      I had a Christmas job in 1973-74 at Harrods in London. Bags were searched daily. If you had something that could be mistaken for an item that was on sale in the store you declared it when you came into work. Oh, and we wern't paid for the time it took to do the searching. No one really grumbled back then. I guess now everyone goes to work with their Lawyer of speed-dial. Sad times.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No one really grumbled back then

        Ah, the past is a beautiful place. No industrial action, no unions, no fat cat bosses, just people going about their business gently smiling at each other.....

        Nowadays you got arrested and thrown into jail for saying you're British!!!!!!

        1. Stig2k

          Re: No one really grumbled back then

          I know, *actualy* thrown in jail, just for saying you're British! You can't even take an electric fire in the bath anymore!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No one really grumbled back then

          You obviously never head of the 1974 Miners Strike[1], 1978 Winter of Discontent and a myriad of other strikes that would happen at the drop of a hat.

          [1] Brought down the 1970-74 Heath Government.

          I even had to join a Union as an Apprentice. Close shops were the norm then. Not in right Union then you can't take the job until you did.

          The past especially where I was brough up was pretty grim. I was the first male member of my family in generations not to work down the Pit. I worked at the Pit but not underground as a mechanic. This was regarded as a big step up.

          1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

            Re: No one really grumbled back then

            I worked at the Pit but not underground [..]. This was regarded as a big step up.

            .. literally :)

          2. Steven Roper

            Re: No one really grumbled back then

            " I worked at the Pit but not underground as a mechanic. This was regarded as a big step up."

            Looxury.

            When I whur a lad I 'ad to git oop at 11 o'clock at night 'alf an hour afore I went to bed...

    2. John Tserkezis

      "That'll get old after about a week."

      Bring in a wheelie bag filled to the brim with condoms.

      We'll see how old that gets.

  7. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    Next time this judge will tell people can avoid clothes..

    ... if they don't want to be searched for stolen items.

    There will be a lot of people at Apple stores at shitf time...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Land of the free...

    250 years, maybe time for starting another one. Unless yall keep getting distratcted by the shiney trinkets being waved in your face.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Land of the free...

      Doesn't London and Paris have an Apple Store too?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lucky they don't work with diamonds

    Full cavity search at the end of the shift, never mind a bag check.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lucky they don't work with diamonds

      I read some reports some workers were even held for a few days when there was a suspicion they swallowed raw diamonds. I pity the poor chap who had to check that..

  10. nilfs2
    Meh

    Give the employees lockers instead

    Just ask the employees to leave their bags in the lockers after they show up for work, that's how they did it when I used to work in a music store years ago.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Give the employees lockers instead

      They'd have to be iLockers. You know, all shiny, flashy, and totally unsuitable for real storage...

  11. Dave K Silver badge
    Meh

    Typical custom

    I'm afraid this kind of practice is pretty typical at a number of retailers. Back in my student days, I had a Saturday job working at JD Sports and they also did bag/person searches upon leaving the building. Thankfully the searches were pretty quick as most sports kit isn't small and easy to hide, but it's just something you had to get used to.

    As for not working there, as a student or someone else at the beginning of their career, beggars can't always be choosers, and most people do not work in such jobs as a long-term career option - at least not without working up the hierarchy until you reach a stage where the searches aren't required any more.

  12. davemcwish

    And the problem is...hurt feelings ?

    When I had a part time retail job as a merchandise replenishment officer (not 'shelf stacking' - there's no such thing), random unpaid checks at the end of a shift to deter shrinkage, aka theft, was the norm.

    There could be a slightly sexist element in that women's clothes don't have a large number of pockets compared to men's hence the need for some bag, but actions to prevent theft seem reasonable.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: And the problem is...hurt feelings ?

      No, the problem is being kept waiting for 10 minutes or more at the end of every shift unpaid.

      The simple answer is to put the clocking out machine after the search. I bet Apple could get the security staff to pull their fingers out if it was costing them a little money....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the problem is...hurt feelings ?

      not 'shelf stacking' - there's no such thing

      There is, at shops that sell shelves. :)

      I'll be here all week, thanks.

  13. Chris Evans

    Pocket search?

    Most phones will fit in pockets!

    So how do they check they aren't going out the back door in a pocket?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pocket search?

      "Rather than prohibiting employees from bringing bags and personal Apple devices into the store altogether, Apple took a milder approach to theft prevention and offered its employees the option to bring bags and personal Apple devices into a store subject to the condition that such items must be searched when the[y] leave the store."

      looks like any iThing has to be inspected.

      so either need to have a windows or android phone, tablet, music player etc etc and keys and wallet in pockets or get in line.

      that line will include me with a full sized suitcase full of weeks worth of dirty laundry with shoes, socks and pants from the gym workouts front an centre ;-)

      I have no problem with the searches but agree that the time at work is from when you start work until you finish work if they want to delay you leaving with a search this time should be on the companies dime not yours.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      According to reports from Brazilian (and other countries) prisons...

      Most phones will fit in cavities!

      Prepare for longer queues.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: According to reports from Brazilian (and other countries) prisons...

        Ah, so you think the goods might be going out the back door via the <ahem> back door, as it were?

      2. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: According to reports from Brazilian (and other countries) prisons...

        So that's why iPhones have been getting bigger!

  14. Keir Snelling

    As someone that once worked in retail, I wonder how often they check the rubbish bags and bins?

    Employees carrying out large bags of rubbish to the bins are rarely checked.

    And the bins are rarely secured to prevent an employee getting access to them at the rear of the store after closing time.

    Not hard to drop an iPhone into a waste basket immediately before scooping up the contents to take out back.

  15. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I guess I'm jaded. I've worked in retail (in the 60's and early 70's) and in the defense industry (70's and 80's) and bag/briefcase searches were the norm at both. I don't see the problem.... .

  16. Velv

    There's all sorts of reasons people may need to take a bag to work. Half the population might want to bring something to work discretely roughly on a monthly basis, and there's all sorts of medical or other personal reasons someone might bring a bag.

    Apple needs to take note. Pay the staff for the time, expedite any search, or provide a secure bag storage location outside the "shop" areas. Apple's right to take a search line against thefts, but it can still be done with respect.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Big Brother

      " Pay the staff for the time,"

      What a novel idea! Assume people are innocent and compensate them for the inconvenience caused while searching for thieves.

      Naaaa...it'll never catch on. Too revolutionary, even for Apple.

  17. Graham 27

    Searching personal Apple devices

    Perhaps Samsung or HTC could do a deal on one of their latest phones for all the staff, then no seaching. I'm sure Apple would understand.........not

  18. ben_myers

    How about if Apple provides employees with lockers?

    How about if Apple provides employees with lockers (and combination locks), placed outside the area where employees would be searched? Then the employees could store their personal belongings safely, making any search upon exit from the store quick and easy. After all, safety of ones own personal belongings is important, just like theft of precious Apple trinkets is.

    A modicum of common sense applied by both parties, Apple and the help, would have defused this lawsuit. Of course, the Apple argument might be that it could not afford the space for employee lockers in the high rent districts where Apple has its stores. Horse manure! Can't have it both ways.

  19. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    One piece at a time

    I'd get it one piece at a time

    And it wouldn't cost me a dime

    You'll know it's me when I come through your town

    I'm gonna ride around in style

    I'm gonna drive everybody wild

    'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.

    --------

    Johnny Cash - One Piece At A Time

  20. ShadowDragon8685

    It seems to me that the simple solution is to state unequivocally that a store has the right to search things which an employee might reasonable smuggle goods out in, and that the employee has the right to be compensated for any and all time spent being searched: ergo, the clock-out happens AFTER searching, not before.

    That should satisfy all parties involved. The stores still have their right to search your things, but they'll exercise that right much less liberally since they're paying you for the time. And if they want to spend an hour searching someone, that person and everyone behind them in the queue will be getting time for it, so while they may be massively inconvenienced, they'll be being compensated for it.

  21. casaloco

    Wrong argument

    They should have argued on the basis that they weren't being paid for that time. If the company want to search them while they are on the clock then that's fine, but the second their shift ends the company has no lawful right to require them to do anything... it's forced unpaid overtime, which is, IIRC illegal.

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