back to article Apple bag-search class action sueball moves to Cali supreme court

Apple may have to pay its employees extra for time it spends rifling through their personal belongings at work, if it loses a long-running lawsuit that is now in front of the Californian Supreme Court. The American state’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is kicking the thorny question of whether employees are entitled to pay …

  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Dear Lord!

    Is time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages or bags voluntarily brought to work purely for personal convenience by employees compensable as “hours worked” within the meaning of California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 7?

    They need to ask a court a simple question like that?

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Dear Lord!

      The only reason they need to ask a court is because it's the only body whose answer is authoritative. Obviousness is an irrelevance.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Dear Lord!

        @John H woods

        The only reason they need to ask a court is because it's the only body whose answer is authoritative. Obviousness is an irrelevance.

        But surely the obvious answer to a sane/caring/normal employer would be that of course the time counts as work and they get paid for it. Then no-one would complain (well, possibly about the principle, but not about not being paid)

        Actually I think I answered my own question. sane/caring/normal employer != Apple

        1. Ole Juul

          Re: Dear Lord!

          I say they get double time for that.

    2. ExampleOne

      Re: Dear Lord!

      Well, they aren't working, they are just standing around waiting...

      Honestly, this is the kind of male bovine excrement I long since stopped tolerating. If you aren't paying for my time, it's mine, so... But then I would never have lasted in an Apple store anyway.

      1. hellwig

        Re: Dear Lord!

        "Honestly, this is the kind of male bovine excrement I long since stopped tolerating."

        Agreed. One employer mandated 40hours of guided training (i.e. lesson plans, teachers, etc..) to be entered into the system yearly (and performance reviews had to take this into account). Of course, that time was UNPAID!. So yeah, the company demanded an extra week of my time without compensation.

        Needless to say, I don't work there anymore.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Lord!

      Probably due to the civil penalties,

      (1) Initial Violation -- $50.00 for each underpaid employee for each pay period during which the employee was underpaid in addition to the amount which is sufficient to recover unpaid wages.

      (2) Subsequent Violations -- $100.00 for each underpaid employee for each pay period during which the employee was underpaid in addition to an amount which is sufficient to recover unpaid wages.

      So my reading of that is $50 per employee for the first week then $100 for the every week after. How many employees and how long has it been going on for? However it's not clear what the "Pay Period" is, it could be a month.

      I could also add that as as any foo know, money talks.

      1. TheDillinquent

        Re: Dear Lord!

        Chump change for Apple

    4. patrick tyrus

      Re: Dear Lord!

      The question is because they "can avoid the search" if they opted not to bring a bag to work

      1. ITBloke

        Re: Dear Lord!

        So if the iThing you want to steal is pocket sized, happy days! Maybe no iMacs or iPads but iPhones are just asking to be pocketed by non bag carrying staff! If the policy doesn't cover all items, its pointlessly invasive. But then again, what if an employee slips an iSumthin down his/her knickers, searching 'down there' would be a very, ahem, grey area. Seems more like a control thing to me than a useful policy.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    see previous comment about America = Third World Country

    its laughable that this needs to go to court to be worked out...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hey go easy on our American cousins ... they're having a tough time at the moment.

      Anyway - crap like this still goes on here in old blighty too ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You DO NEED a court... deperately.

        Soon this will go on everywhere.

        What about faulty microchips implanted in employees, do you get paid for having yourself repaired? We know if it's left up to a corporation, you won't. Thus, you'll need to have it defined in law for otherwise.

        A MegaCorp is searching your private property AND detaining you without pay. So some people think a court should not be involved? The capitalist zombies have risen!

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Anyway - crap like this still goes on here in old blighty too ..."

        And it didn't take a court to come down with $LARGE fines on the companies caught doing it.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      "its laughable that this needs to go to court to be worked out..."

      This wouldn't be in court at all. But Apple is very embarrassed about the public finding out about their .... shrinkage.

      The pool water was very cold that day...

  3. David Nash

    Argos have just been told they have to cough up the minimum wage for this:

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      That number comes up as "Coffee Maker With Integrated Webcam". :-)

      1. James12345

        Robert Carnegie - Chapeau to you, sir.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

    At an old job, we were expected to arrive 15 minutes before shift for "handover". Needless to say, it wasn't paid.

    The result.

    People left off bang on time even if the work wasn't completed, never worked unpaid overtime, had the full 1 hour lunch (to the minute).

    Now rock up roughly about the right time, sometimes have the correct time for lunch, sometimes more, sometimes less. In all they get more "free" time out of me than the authoritarian company. Even in this company, there are managers that insist on the 9 - 5:30 of old and that exactly what they get, no more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

      I once got moaned at for my morning time keeping, never more than 5 or 10 minutes late (I'm not a morning person), but I'd sit at my desk eating my lunch at lunchtime, and answer calls/emails from customers if they came in.

      At the end of the day I'd take a call even if came in at 17:29 (1 minute before home time), and deal with it.

      It didn't take advanced mathematics to work out that the company were never down on work hours/minutes from me over the course of a day.

      But still they moaned.

      So for a solid month I was spot on time in the morning, out the door at 13:00 for lunch, before reappearing 59 minutes later, and I was off my chair and heading for the door at 17:30...

      Then they moaned about my attitude!

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

        You didn't work for Computacenter in Hatfield, did you? According to acquaintances, that kind of pissy behaviour was typical there...

        1. Uk_Gadget

          Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

          I work in Computacenter Hatfield, never had a problem with 'pissy behavior'. Been here twenty years now..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

            Not specifically based in Hatfield but there enough for various projects (I worked in Consultancy division), don't think I ever witnessed that behaviour personally. Saw people coming/going with flexibility. Perhaps it was worse for those working on the warehouse side of things?

      2. VinceH

        Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

        "Then they moaned about my attitude!"

        Hmm. Back in the stone age... my hours were 9-5:30 and I was often there up to 15 minutes early in the morning, and around 15 minutes later than that leaving at the end of the day, because of the bus times etc. And those extra chunks of the time were originally given freely to the company - I worked. And at lunchtime, if I was in the office, I typically worked.

        It was a salaried job, so there was no overtime anyway - but time sheets had to be kept for the purpose of billing clients. So even though I wasn't being paid for that extra time, the company was charging clients for it.

        I didn't mind until I asked for a few hours off for something (my holiday entitlement having already been used). I was asked if I'd be willing to make it up, so I pointed out that technically I was in credit - that didn't go down very well. (Amongst other things I was told that I "shouldn't be counting hours".)

        Thereafter, as you, I worked to rule and had that same complaint I've quoted.

        1. paulf

          Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

          @VinceH "Amongst other things I was told that I "shouldn't be counting hours""

          It's interesting how we get berated because we shouldn't be counting hours while it's in their favour; until it's in our favour then those hours are suddenly counted to the minute.

          I recall accidentally admitting I kept a note of my hours during my first appraisal at the current gig (some years ago now) - the boss had complained I didn't work enough unpaid overtime (in his workaholic opinion) and I wanted to make clear that wasn't the case. He went absolutely loopy at the idea I was noting my hours which I took as a sign I absolutely must keep doing so for the very reasons you and many others in this thread have also found.

        2. jelabarre59

          Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

          Early 90's, I had remaining vacation days I hadn't used at the end of the year (expected to take time off to visit family out of state). Christmas and end-of-year crunch came along, and I wasn't able to use those days. The owner had promised I'd be compensated for those days. Well, I wasn't, so when a similar situation happened the next year, the company accountant/CPA (who hadn't been there the prior year) made the same statement, I said "can I get that in writing?" He humorously says "what, don't you trust us?". I said "No."

          After he was taken aback by that, I explained why. He mumbled something about looking into it. DOn't recall if it did get settled, or if that was the year I left. It's so nice to see the company got bought out some time later, and the owner and management are long gone.

      3. TheBoyMid

        Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

        Sounds reasonable. Maybe to the bosses, the times you are present are more important than the hours you're there. Arriving late because 'you don't like mornings' sounds like you do have an attitude worth moaning about.

      4. Jtom

        Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

        Same with me. My official hours were from 8am to 4:30pm, with an hour for lunch; a 7 1/2 hour workday. We weren't a customer-facing group, but dealt internally with our construction department that started work at 7:30am. For years I got to work at 7, took an hour lunch, and left a little after 4pm (I was escaping both morning and evening traffic jams); a workday in excess of 8 hours. An upper-level brain came in and said everyone must be at work from 8 to 4:30. So I did exactly that. Very quickly construction was complaining that they were losing a half-hour each day because they couldn't get answers from us before 8am. The brain only lasted a few months. His replacement just said, if you do the job done, on time and within the budget, I don't care how you do it. He's been there for years.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

      when I was working in local government late 80's to mid 90's, we had to be in the office for 08:30.

      We actually had to sign in.

      at 08:35, the payroll manager had to remove the signing in book and replace it with the 'tardy' book.

      you then saw a set of times entered from 08:36...

      Well, this had the desired effect on morale. at 16:59:30 most of the staff had their coats on for the 17:00:00 "le mons start" to race out the door to get away.

      We did not get flexible working patterns until the 1996 reorganisation!

    3. ps2os2

      Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

      I used to be a manager (until I quit). One of the groups I managed was a help desk. I asked for volunteers to come in 15 minutes early on each shift to take turnover. This woman said she would. great, about a week afterward I came in 30 minutes and was doing something else and I watched her come in and sign in and sit down and read a book. I asked the shift people did she ever take turnover, and they said no. I let this go on a few days and watched her out of the side of one eye. I finally went over to her and asked her why she wasn't doing her assigned job to do a take over from the previous shift. She indicated, well if they had anything to say they would. I told her she couldn't come in 15 minutes early anymore and I would find another person to do takeover. She went straight to personal and complained that I was discriminating against her. I explained the situation to personal and they said I had to give her 2 weeks notice before taking her off. I was really mad. Next day I told her that she had 2 weeks and then no more overtime. She went up again to personal and complained. They called me up and I ask, what was the problem now? They said I could not tell her any more overtime, even though I would give it to others. I said fine next time there is an issue you will have to take care of it as you are micromanaging this. The woman was never offered over time again.

      1. DrM

        Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

        So, why do you hate people because of their race/sex? :-)

        1. lglethal Silver badge

          Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

          Shortly after I left one of my old firms (which had been super to work for, never any problems, etc.) they got a new Boss who was a complete d*ck. He removed Flex time, brought in rules that everyone had to be at work on time or you lost a minimum of 15 minutes pay, and overtime had to be approved 2 weeks in advance, not to mention a whole host of other d*ckish rules.

          My mate worked in concessions, i.e. when manufacturing screwed up, he had to decide how to fix it. One Thursday morning, he arrived 2 minutes late and was subsequently docked 15 minutes pay. The next day (friday) 5 minutes before closing time, his Boss came to him super worried, and said "I need you to take a quick look at this", the part was due to go out to the customer that day, was worth a couple of million to the company, and there would be hell to pay if it didnt go out. My mate calmly looked at his Boss, said, "Sorry but yesterday you docked me 15 minutes pay for being 5 minutes late, and unfortunately you didnt apply for this overtime 2 weeks ago, so I wont get paid for sticking around. So sorry, but bye!" and left whistling, happily.

          The part didnt go out until the Monday night, the customer hit the roof, and that new Boss was shown the door 2 weeks later. Apparently morale improved massively...

        2. AndyJenk

          Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

          @drm Where did you get that idea from?

        3. 2460 Something

          Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?


          I'm not sure 2 people understood your joke :D

      2. AndyJenk

        Re: When will this bosses realise it works both ways?

        Surely the point in asking someone to come in 15 minutes early is so that they are ON TIME for taking over. Otherwise you could have just moved all shifts by 15 minutes, Or were you simply

        wanting people to work for nothing? Did the shift she was taking over from also arrive 15 minutes early?

        Perhaps you have not explained clearly?

  5. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


    This is probably covered - but: if your bag contains necessary medicine or your emotional support animal, then is that "voluntary"?

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: But

      Yeah - Because Bad Things only happen to Bad People and people can choose not to be Bad and then they wouldn't be ill or Something (The next thing to be decided by court, probably).

      What happens when someone booby-traps errr places a few really nasty sex articles in their bag? You know, For after-work activities? "'Ere Mate - Have a good Feel of That! I know that I just have!!"

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: But

      or supply of tampons etc. Doesn't apply to all employees obviously, so could count as sex discrimination.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: But

      "your emotional support animal, "

      Your what!?!?!?! Must be California....

  6. jonnycando

    I am suprised Apple can even search employee baggage at all. In my line of work, such activity has been ruled an illegal search. They can ask for us to show what we have, but we are within our rights to decline. And they can take no action if we do decline.

    1. Snorlax


      @jonnycando:"I am suprised Apple can even search employee baggage at all. In my line of work, such activity has been ruled an illegal search."

      They probably agreed to being searched when they signed their employment contract. If you then refused to submit to a search you would then be breaking the terms of your contract, and could be fired.

      Lots of companies do this. Read your contracts people.

      1. jabuzz

        Re: @jonnycando

        Companies have a habit of putting all sorts of stuff in employment contracts that are not legal. They will even insist on doing when they have been told that that it is illegal and won't stand up in a court of law. Sometimes it is just a case of reusing old contracts when the law has changed but not always. I am not a lawyer but my siblings are; one is an employment tribunal judge so actually gets to decide what is and is not the law, and has never had any of his judgements successfully appealed either. So for the record of all the employment contracts I have signed in my life only my current one passes muster.

        1. Snorlax

          Re: @jonnycando

          @jabuzz:"Companies have a habit of putting all sorts of stuff in employment contracts that are not legal. "

          If you agree to let your employer search you, they can. You can also say no and see how that works out.

          "I am not a lawyer but my siblings are; one is an employment tribunal judge so actually gets to decide what is and is not the law"

          U wot m8? An employment tribunal judge is a glorified referee. He's bound by the Employment Tribunals Rules of Procedure, and has no power to "decide what is and is not the law".

      2. Reue

        Re: @jonnycando

        My company put in it's "social media policy" that all employees must hand over upon request their usernames and passwords to all social media accounts. I'm told 99.8% of the company signed upon the dotted line except for 2 who refused. Those 2 would have been my brother and I. A quick chat with legal and pointing out the relevant data protection aspects and we had personalised policy documents which excluded this specific clause. Legal even agreed the terms should have never been included in the first place and would be removing it for all future starts.

        Just because some drone in HR copies and pastes something into a contract does not make it legal or enforceable.

        1. jelabarre59

          Re: @jonnycando

          My company put in it's "social media policy" that all employees must hand over upon request their usernames and passwords to all social media accounts.

          Doing so violates your usage agreement with that social media provider. Which means you can have that company brought up on charges for coercing you into breaking a contract with another party. Also, you could point out that, if they expect that their employees can so readily break an agreement with someone else, how can they then expect the employees to honor their agreements with their employer?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Regarding searches, years back I worked as a 'Floorwalker' (undercover shoplifting prevention) for a national Clothing Store chain. At the end of their shift I would do a 'bag check'. Female and Male employees were required to open their Handbags, Knapsacks, Lunch-pails and any other container. I could not reach into any employees bags but they were required to move any item I asked them to do and open any compartments that I requested. Failing to do so would be taken care of the next day with the store's Manager firing the employee.

    3. Jtom

      I'm sure you could make an issue of it, but don't forget the employer has the ultimate trump card: Notice - effective 9-1-2017 no personnel can bring in personal items into the building. Bags and parcels are hereby prohibited unless it is job related or company property. Those items must be cleared at security to enter.

      1. Wommit


        I would REALLY like to see a company try to enforce this. The amount of "things" people need to take with them is legend. Try telling a Type 2 diabetic s/he cannot have an emergency bar of chocolate / fizzy drink at hand, try telling a female she cannot have "ladies products" with her, try telling someone with a heart condition that they cannot have medicines at hand, wow, what crap that company would be in.

        In ALL jobs that I have been in there have been lockers, personal storage, etc for the personnel to use.

        NEVER have I had to leave my personnal belongings outside of my working environment. Sometimes I have had to change into personal protective gear, but my own stuff has been secured on site in a locked container.

      2. jelabarre59

        I was at the local Gap Distribution Center for an interview in their IT department, and they had lockers outside the security entrance to the warehouse itself. Of course, your typical mall-located crApple Store wouldn't have room for such things. And I expect that the Microsoft Stores don't have to, because who's going to bother stealing a WindowsPhone? People usually steal things with some actual *value*.

  7. Baldrickk

    How about this -

    you leave your bag outside of your work area - in your car if you have one nearby, or in a locker "outside" the security check.

    It's therefore there if you need to get something, and not present for you to sneak things into, win win eh? I'm sure Apple can afford to stump up for some lockers.

    It's not like they will need the bags to hand all day, is it?

    - and yes, I have this where I work, I don't take anything beyond my keys to my desk in our secure area. everything else is left in lockers.

    1. MrXavia

      Re: How about this -

      iPhones are not that large, I am sure employees could be creative to find a way to remove them if they wanted to without needing a bag

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: How about this -

      These are small boutique stores in city centers.

      The lockers would have to go in the back, with the stock.

      There is no car park.

    3. Nunyabiznes

      Re: How about this -

      In general this is where guys have it easier than women. I've very seldom ever had to bring a backpack or similar to work other than when I was injured and had some exercise stuff I had to use during the day. Ladies tend to need a little more storage than what is available in most business appropriate women's clothing. Not necessarily every day but often enough that carrying at least a small bag is a reasonable daily practice.

      Apple can either provide a secure area (and I did have items stolen out of my "secure" locker at one former employer - nothing noticed of course) that accessing for necessaries does not count against your break time or they can pay to search. IMO of course.

  8. JaitcH


    It might be better to spend more money doing background checks than searching employees.

    Given some of the voluminous orifices on bodies, one large enough to give birth, it is a challenge doomed to failure.

    Better to have occasional spot checks on the inside of the time clock than harass ALL employees.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      What makes you think they don't background checks? They will almost certainly be doing credit score checks and drug tests for all applicants. That's not at all uncommon for US employers.

      1. kain preacher


        You can not do credit checks in California. Drug test is falling by the way side as it does not catch that many people and it costs/

  9. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

    Wasn't there something similar in the UK with Sports Direct? I seem to recall Mike Ashley getting flak because when you factored in the time his warehouse staff spent queuing for and going through security checks each day, they were getting paid less than minimum wage.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Wasn't there something similar in the UK with Sports Direct?

      There have been several Sports Direct stories, even quite recently.

      I imagine that this story on the BBC may contain a reference.

      Then there's this one from just a few days ago on a different, but similarly "Victorian" attitude.


  10. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Airport workers

    Anyone who works airside at a major UK airport will tell you that they routinely spend an hour a day waiting in the security check queue. Many are on minimum wage (cleaners etc.), and/or working part-time making the security checks a significant proportion of their total time at work.

    The argument is that the time is part of the employees' daily commute, and so not a part of their paid working time. Granted that the security barriers are not situated within the premises of the worker's employer, are not operated by the employer and are outside the control of the employer, so I can see that the argument has merit. You could not, after all, expect your employer to pay for the time spent waiting at traffic lights or other habitual delays to your journey to & from work. Not that that makes it any different from the POV of the employee of course.

    1. jelabarre59

      Re: Airport workers

      You could not, after all, expect your employer to pay for the time spent waiting at traffic lights or other habitual delays to your journey to & from work.

      However, commuting time, how you get to work (finding better routes, opting for public transit vs driving, etc) are entirely your own option, not mandated by the employer. Security checks, on the other hand, ARE mandated by the employer, and are a required process of the job. Being a part of the job, they should therefore be compensated for the time. (this coming from a Libertarian, mind you).

  11. d3vy

    I used to work in a small PC shop, they paid us minimum wage and worked us 48/54 hour weeks (One week on one week off weekends & long shifts) To add insult to injury at 7pm they would lock up the shop and then come and check us with metal detectors and go through our bags - added an extra half hour to the day as many of us did a car share so could only leave when then last person was checked.

    At the time it didn't bother me as it was a first job in IT and I didn't really know that it wasn't the norm... Looking back none of us should have stood for the conditions there - metal roofed warehouse with no airflow so boiling in summer and no heating so freezing in winter.

    The ridiculous bit was when the owners found out I could "do web stuff" I was given the job of selling off all of the old stock and second hand crap that no one else wanted, this meant that I was given a key to the stock room where I could remove items pack them up and put them in my OWN car boot so that I could then drive them to the post office.

    No one ever checked waht was taken out, what went into the car or that the stuff I was posting had been paid for - had I wanted to I could have sent myself anything I wanted - obviously I didnt but I could. They still insisted that I was scanned at the end of the night though - even though if I had nicked anything Id have had ample opportunity to do so during any of the many times during the day that I came and went of my own accord.

    None of the other staff were checked when going for fag breaks or for lunch, so I assume any thefts that took place happened during the day rather than at the end of the night!

    1. Lee D

      Only Fools and Horses.

      "I searched his briefcase every night for a year..."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      he had a permission slip

      A long time ago at a metal factory my grandfather worked with a man that took home a wheel-barrel of wood scraps from broken pallets every night for his fireplace. He had a note from the boss that allowed him to take the scraps. The security man at the gate had a feeling that he was stealing but he couldn't prove it . He would search the wheel-barrel full of scraps but only found wood. When the man retired he ran into the security guard one day and was asked, I know you were taking something from the plant but I could never find anything, I still had this feeling you were taking something. Since we both no longer work there would you please tell me what you were taking and the man answered "Wheel-barrels."

      So it goes as d3vy said, if someone wanted to take something the end of the day would be the most unlikely time of day they would do it.

  12. Dropper


    Best policy is to take a bag filled various colours of crystal slime (it's a toy).

    Throw in something lumpy to give it texture.

    Personally my preference would be the blood clot version and something that resembles skin mixed in.

  13. Lee D

    I once took great pleasure with a new office manager who had just been promoted.

    Their first action was telling myself, a school IT guy, that I was five minutes late in.

    In the summer holidays.

    To a school I contracted for.

    When I was literally the only other person present.

    When I had a list of work to do in the holidays.

    And I reported to the headmaster directly, not to her.

    So the next day, I was ten minutes late. She threatened to report me to the head.

    The day after, I was fifteen minutes late (obviously not good at spotting patterns).

    It was at that point that the head informed her I wasn't paid by the hour (like she was) but by the day. And I could arrive and leave when I wanted (so long as the site was open/secure) as I was only a contractor. And that I only reported to him, not her. And that the school owed me two days of work, technically, because I'd taken a day out of "holiday" to take all their old equipment, fold it in with another customers, and thereby dispose of it compliant to WEEE regulations for free for them.

    She didn't like me after that, but to be honest, I didn't like the way going from office-staff to office-manager made her think that she ran and knew everything about the school.

    Yep. If you'd made me go through security checks before/after work, I would either adjust my hours accordingly (i.e. if it's going to take ten minutes, I'll turn up for security check ten minutes before I need to leave), or charge accordingly. P.S. when the hourly rate is not written in my contract or agreed in advance, I can pretty much charge what I like.

    Pay people for the processes you force them to go through to work for you, you ignorant, stupendous-profit-making asses, especially when it's a little pittance to what that store would make in a day.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it kidnapping then?

    If they are not being paid, then they are being held against their will. That's kidnapping isn't it?

  15. Bandikoto

    Reminds me a lot of my time at ChipzillaWannabe in the eighties

    ChipzillaWannabe back in the eighties had a fellow who was former (retired?) Army Intelligence as their head of security. His trusted lieutenant was former (retired?) Army Counter-Intelligence. They had instituted bag-checks (but NOT purse-checks) as a counter-measure against theft. This included locked bank-type bags for moving chips from facility to facility, etc. Their claim was that it saved the company millions of dollars (back then, a million bucks actually bought you something) so it was justified. Of course, my co-workers and I found out about it when they wanted to start searching our luggable computer (a Network General Sniffer™), our TDR, tools, our ladders (for getting up to the big yellow hose), spare keyboards/terminals, and of course our personal backpacks. (Remember the days before everyone carried a backpack?) Their measures slowed us down at every building entrance and exit, and in the fashion of the time, the buildings were wide-spread across the valley because there was minimal traffic. Network outages were measured in minutes, so this rankled, as their measures greatly cut into our performance stats. Claiming my backpack as a purse didn't prevent the unnecessary fondling.

    It all blew up in their faces when they decided to accuse our techs of time card fraud, which was proven by your correspondent to be false, as I dug through the terminal concentrator logs and showed that they were working when they said they were. Not to be one-upped, Security claimed that they were still lying because they supposedly had to first enter our building, and then travel to the building they were performing the day's tasks in.

    And the chips that their anti-theft measures prevented from being stolen? Those were being manufactured overseas. Any chips we had in our building were engineering samples and in fact, our main workplace was a design (and IT) center. If I remember correctly, they had one fab there in Sunnydale, which might have been for making the 20% faster than Chipzilla's CPU chips, thus the entire brouhaha an exercise in Wang-waggling by the ex-military types.

  16. murakh


    Could this needing to clock off be similar to why one goes through immigration before customs?

    If the bag is searched while still officially "at work" and something is found, then it cant be said that the item is being stolen. Officially having finished work, then there is no reason to have company-owned items in your bag.

    Whatever the case these kinds of searches (including checks of car boots at one place I used to work) are totally useless as there is no way they know what was brought in to start with!

  17. DrM


    Yes, and we are going to cavity search anyone who visits a bathroom. Hey, using our bathrooms is voluntary!

  18. AndyJenk


    So why doesn't Apple install airport style x-ray machines and pay someone to man them? . Will take seconds to check a bag. Happy employees, happy employer only paying for one person's time.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Productivity up, real profits up, wages not.

    rant on

    This article reminds me of the decline being seen in many countries, including my own. Back in the day I was required to "pre-sort" hardcopy archive material (old papers) including timesheets and pay stubs all the way back to the 1970's. Shocking how much things changed over the years. The percentage of deductions in the 1970's was so low it only took a few lines to list the items. I calculated tax for the group I was in, it was 17%. For me at the time it was over 30% and if you worked too much OT it could go over 50% for the OT (my highest was 54% last dollar earned).

    Hours worked in the 1970's was 8hrs, pay was for 7.5hrs, they worked Mon-Fri, paid OT and benefits. Regular jobs, not construction or installation jobs which even back then had different hours.

    Fast forward many decades, same regular job/profession. More education needed for entry (less government support for education), lower entry level wage, longer time required as Junior or Trainee, and many other changes none of which by themselves seems all that significant. Most are not noticed by today's workers who still think they have one of the best jobs going, and they do.

    It's all apples and oranges when it comes to standard of living, taxes and deductions and who even cares if previous generations had higher standards of living if it means having to put up with SD TV and 1Mhz computers?

    But hours worked is oranges and oranges. Still only 24hrs in a day, 8760hrs in a year, and for some in that group life expectancy is not rising.

    Regular work day in that same job is now between 9 -16hrs. OT is paid but today it is increasingly expected to be worked.

    We got here by companies working tirelessly generation after generation to pocket increasing profits due to increased productivity and ensuring inflation and incremental changes in the workplace was to the companies benefit. Most in the industry can't see those changes but it can be seen in the hours.

    One of the last jobs I had was an example of changes that should be noticeable to most. It was 12hrs a day with a travel day it was an 8on-6off. Not a good schedule for families but great for me at the time. Only one shift off a year but it could increase to three and I was told I could work OT time for straight time off to have more than one shift off a year.

    Until I showed up for work. Turned out there was no OT for straight time off, if you wanted to do that it was under the table and only if you could pay others to cover your time and get the boss to agree. Mine wouldn't.

    12hrs was actually 13hrs as lunch wasn't paid. I paid extra for my travel and accommodation (10% of pay) but that saved me more than 2hrs a day in commuting time. Co-workers had 14 to 15hr days, 12hr paid, so my 13hrs, 12hr paid didn't seem too bad. Being on call was expected but didn't happen too often. Our work was often critical so we never took lunch or break if it interfered with the job being done. Not at all unusual to work 12hrs straight, grab a snack when you can and use a washroom when you got the chance.

    Then I found out that OT was not optional. That isn't legal in that jurisdiction but if you had a problem you could always try suing after you were dismissed. Of course you will not be able to use a local labour lawyer as every law firm in town was under retainer by companies. There are some freelance lawyers you could use but they would be from even farther away and had long waiting lists. I know some who started the process, I have not heard of any completing it.

    Then the company added 1hr to every ones work day, unpaid. For me that meant a 13hr day just grew to 14hr. For some it meant +16hr days, no OT. Lots of workers started to grumble. In my shop I was the loudest. Almost every point I had raised in the interviews, during negotiations and got in writing had been changed to my disadvantage and now the day was to be 14hr worked 12hr paid?

    The rest of the shop asked me to not press the issue. They were fine with more work or less pay or both. Did the fact that 75% were not born in this country, that most did not have full qualifications for the positions they held impact their decision to accept the added unpaid hours? Who knows?

    I left to have a life. The last I heard that shop had grown. Now it is staffed with even more immigrants and the company has an even worst reputation but then so does much of that industry.

    People are staying in school longer, working for less pay, working longer hours, working schedules that benefit companies not families, but if you complain there is always someone else who will do the job, even if the company has to scour the world to find them. If only workers could organize, oh wait, there are laws to ensure that doesn't happen. Union membership, once common, is now as rare an 8hr work day with 7.5hrs paid or enforced labour laws.

    rant off

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