The California Supreme Court (“Court”) recently ruled that Apple, Inc. is required to pay its workers for time spent waiting for and undergoing security screenings before leaving the workplace. The Court found that the company’s policy requiring employees to clock out before undergoing two daily bag checks added up to approximately 90 minutes of unpaid work per week and was illegal.
Apple employees are required to go through a security bag check every time they leave the store to detect and prohibit theft. The search can range from five to 45 minutes, depending on the availability of security guards and number of employees trying to leave. If the bag contains personal technology, the device must be verified as belonging to the employee. California law requires employers to pay their employees for all “hours worked.” The Court determined that time spent waiting for and undergoing those required searches of personal bags is compensable by state law.
The ruling will have economical and practical impacts on California employers. In order to mitigate the effects, employers will need to make any bag checks as expeditious and efficient as possible or consider removing them altogether. Employers could also offer off-site storage for personal items to eliminate bringing bags into work or set a size limit on items brought to work. Similar to airport and sports events security checks, employers could require employees to use clear bags for easier searches.