Apple struck with lawsuit over missing pay packets and breaks

Apple struck with lawsuit over missing pay packets and breaks

Summary: Has the iPad and iPhone maker deliberately flouted Californian labor laws?

TOPICS: Apple, Legal
Credit: Apple

A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 20,000 employees claims that Apple failed to provide rest breaks and final paychecks for staff in accordance with Californian law.

The iPad and iPhone maker is now facing a class-action lawsuit brought forward and certified in California Superior Court after being originally filed in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal. The complaint alleges that Apple did not give employees adequate lunch breaks, rest periods or pay final paychecks.

The lawsuit is claiming on behalf of a range of Apple employees, including junior engineers, call center representatives and Apple Store staff.

"Very often workers were not given meal breaks for seven or eight hours, and sometimes not at all," plaintiffs' counsel Tyler Belong told the publication.

The complaint states that Apple deliberately did not adhere to the US state's labor laws, and the tech giant's policies made it clear that even discussing labor policies ran the risk of employees "being fired, sued, or disciplined."

The Calif.-based firm is also involved in a number of other lawsuits. In a separate class-action suit, the company is being sued for allegedly refusing to pay staff for the time spent in mandatory security screening when leaving Apple premises. When such screening could take 10 to 15 minutes a time, this equates to roughly $1500 a year in lost wages, according to the ex-Apple retail employees who filed the suit in a San Francisco federal court.

In April this year, another class-action lawsuit set against Apple, Adobe, Google and Intel was settled out of court. The complaint, covering nearly 65,000 employees, accused the firms of keeping wages artificially low by means of a secret pact designed to stop the firms from hiring and poaching competitively.

California Superior Court judge Ronald Prager is overseeing the latest case, and the amount of damages sought is unknown at this time.

In separate news, Apple reported on Tuesday fiscal third-quarter earnings of $7.7 billion on earnings of $1.28 per share, with overall revenue of $37.4 billion.

Topics: Apple, Legal

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  • Ha ha! Apple should move

    their headquarters to Texas like everyone else!
    Tony Burzio
  • Ha ha! Apple should move

    their headquarters to Texas like everyone else!
    Tony Burzio
    • Why?

      Are there no lunch breaks in Texas?
      • It's the land of beef cattle

        the meals come walking right up to you....
      • Yes there are

        The laws in Texas are about the same as in California when it comes to breaks, lunch, and paychecks.
        Hemlock Stones
        • I doubt that

          I don't think Texas has many labor laws at all. Or laws. That's why so many companies have left California for Texas. California has the most labor laws in the country and they add more every year.
          • What Do You Expect

            Apple has the same contempt for the employees, as for the customers. Remember their book deal monopoly, where they spun it as more competition, by locking up book deals from the publishers over Amazon, at higher prices. But the customers benefit from paying higher prices. (not a monopoly at all)
            The workers also benefit from no lunches, and no pay, it builds character. I can wear an Apple logo!!!
  • Why does THIS not surprise me?

  • The complaints against Apple regard violations of Federal Labor Law

    All states, including Texas, have labor laws in place. The rule is that any state that doesn't make specific laws must abide with Federal Law. This is not to say that under CA Law there may be some liability for higher damages. But the complaint about breaks being unpaid, as an example, are covered under Federal Law even if California holds to a higher standard (no state is permitted to codify a lower than federal standard).

    I worked for a company that had some of the strictest controls I had ever experienced regarding time spent on breaks and lunches. They enforced the timing by using the logon/logoff cycle of the computer you were assigned. You weren't assigned a computer until after you reported for work and all the computers were turned off at end-of-shift by the assigned employee. Some of their computers were very old and the boot sequence had all manner of configuration scripts and controls built-in. It was not at all unusual to have a system take up to 7 minutes to start. You weren't allowed to lock a system when you went on break, you had to log-off. As you can guess an actual break of 15 minutes was somewhat less because you had to subtract the time it took to log-off then on. You could not leave at end of shift until the shut-down completed. It was amazing how strictly they enforced these policies. After a week of this I pointed out to my supervisor that their policies appeared to conflict with Federal Labor Law. He asked my in what way. I informed him that since the startup and shutdows in addition to the requirement to logoff/on during breaks constituted a defined job function that all employees were entitled to be paid for the time they spent simply getting the computer ready to perform the job function since using the computer was 100% of the job.

    He actually thought I was being a "smart-arse" and said so. I recommended he send an email up to corporate. Two weeks later they changed all the rules, added 5 minutes of paid time before and after logon/off as appropriate and allowed employees to message and lock their systems during breaks. It must have scared someone in just the right place.

    What absolutely floors me is how many intelligent people are either unaware or feel unable to enforce rules and laws that were enacted to prevent corporate gouging of employees.
    The Heretic
  • There is a plus side to tying the work timing to the computer on/off cycle

    If you are not on the time clock until you start up your computer, and you are off the clock after you shut down, then it's pretty hard for them to get you to work (on the computer) as unpaid overtime without having electronic documentation that they are cheating you. (Of course, your boss might tell you to do non-computer duties without pay when your computer is shut down, but I guess that's another issue.) Interesting.
    • What about.....

      when you get to work on time, and a fellow employee buttonholes you for a short discussion of a project before you get to your desk and turn on the computer? It seems to me that you should get paid from the moment you enter the employers premises.
  • That is nothing

    Compared to the way Apple shoots at their customer's feet to make them dance.