The shine is off another apple

The shine is off another apple

Summary: Techies to Apple: You treat us like indentured servants.In a lawsuit filed Monday that the plaintiff hopes to turn into class-action that could include all staff at retail stores, an Apple employee alleges that the company denied technical staffers overtime pay and other compensations required by state law.

TOPICS: Apple, CXO, IT Employment

Techies to Apple: You treat us like indentured servants.
In a lawsuit filed Monday that the plaintiff hopes to turn into class-action that could include all staff at retail stores, an Apple employee alleges that the company denied technical staffers overtime pay and other compensations required by state law. The network engineer employed by Apple from 1995 until 2007, David Walsh, says that he spent innumerable evenings and entire weekend on call without any overtime pay, fielding tech support calls that came after 11 p.m.

Furthermore, Walsh says that Apple "intentionally and deliberately created numerous job levels and a multitude of job titles to create the superficial appearance of hundreds of unique jobs, when in fact, these jobs are substantially similar and can be easily grouped together for the purpose of determining whether they are exempt from overtime wages," reads the complaint.

Now raise your hand if you've ever worked in a tech support job that stiffed you on overtime or had you on call at absurd hours. Oh wait, all of you have? Then this means that it probably doesn't surprise you that techies at Sun Microsystems, Electronic Arts, IBM and Dell have pursued similar suits with varying degrees of success.

But what stands out here--to this writer at least--is Apple's name on it. No, this isn't being in the RDF that precludes one from seeing or hearing any evil about shiny Mac products, but about the fact that Apple is such a coveted place to work, it is described in different accounts as "cool," "a dream job," "the holy grail of aesthetic accolade" as well as "a great way to meet chicks." (And these were just the top of search results.)

It sounds instead like another case of employment realities at Workplace Wonderlands--it seems the cooler a workplace is perceived to be, the less hard it has to fight to fill openings, and fewer it has to bait them with--even the legal guarantees of overtime pay and the promise of a few hours off each week.

Topics: Apple, CXO, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The shine is off another apple

    Kinda makes me glad I didn't get that job at Apple on 5th ave.
    Loverock Davidson
    • glad

      Apple's glad about that, too.
  • RE: The shine is off another apple

    California Labor Law:


    CHAPTER 482
    An act to amend Sections 515.5 and 1773.9 of the Labor Code,
    relating to employment.


    SB 929, Cogdill. Overtime compensation: prevailing wage

    ...Under existing law, any work in excess of 8 hours in one
    workday required to be compensated at the rate of no less than 11/2 times
    the regular rate of pay for an employee. Existing law exempts a
    professional employee in the computer software field from this
    overtime compensation requirement if the employee is primarily
    engaged in work that is intellectual or creative, the employee's
    hourly rate of pay is not less than $41, and the employee meets other
  • Indentured servitude

    That would imply that you only have to do it for a previously agreed upon period of time, then you're free. If there's no end in sight, then there are more appropriate terms to use.

    Either way, I suspect the term is being misused for rhetorical purposes, which is dishonest, to say the least.
    John L. Ries
  • This is news?

    Some years back I worked on a project for Apple at one of their vendors. As part of the process, $EMPLOYER had to take my picture and send it to Apple; the reason given was that Mr. Jobs wanted to see who was working for him.

    Which wouldn't have been a problem, except that it also included giving Apple my home phone number, and there was absolutely no telling when it would ring. On call, 24/7/365 -- and I wasn't even on Apple's payroll.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • RE: The shine is off another apple

      This is very intricate to not come to an agreement with you in this spot
      <a href="">Generic provigil</a> / <a href="">order valtrex</a> / <a href="">order Propecia</a> / <a href="">Finpecia</a> / <a href="">buy Zithromax</a> / <a href="">order Periactin</a> / <a href="http://">nuvigil</a>
      order Propecia
  • RE: The shine is off another apple

    You know eventually people will speak up or take action
    before they work years without overtime pay. How long does
    it take? If you don't like it find another job.
    • That's what I said

      I don't care if they beat him with reeds, you don't stay 12 years and THEN start b*tching. One or two months TOPS if it's anywhere near as bad as he claims.
      • Soundbites are punchy, but reality ain't that simple

        You simply do not have enough information to make this judgement. You're engaging in the popular internet sport of second-guessing a total stranger's life decisions.

        Your snappy sound bite makes superficial sense. But reality is never as simple as we want it to be.

        Simply jumping ship from an employer every time they do something you don't sounds great on a chat forum, but in real life, there are consequences for being a job-hopper. A few months here, a few months there, and prospective new employers are going to start wondering why you have trouble staying in one place.

        There are other realities that can influence people's decisions, like location and family responsibilities, insurance benefits, retirement savings, etc.

        Furthermore, you claim that he waited 12 years before he complained. Do you have actual proof of this? Do you KNOW that he did NOT complain before suing?
        Do you KNOW that he has NOT been in previous negotiations over this issue?
        Do you KNOW what promises were made to him by management?

        Finally, it's silly to claim that someone who has been subject to illegal treatment is not eligible for compensation simply because they didn't know about it.

        Using that reasoning, nobody who's been the victim of identity theft, or fraud, or power stealing, is entitled to compensation either, since "they should have complained sooner."
        • Yes

          [i]Furthermore, you claim that he waited 12 years before he complained.[/i]

          "worked for the company from 1995-2007."

          Unless he is completely batsh*t crazy, it wasn't that big of a problem for the 12 years prior to his leaving. Thus, he's full of crap, or a total idiot. Neither is excuseable.
  • Keep your Resume up to date

    The workplace in America has gotten out of control. Work, work, work is the mantra to the point where your life becomes your job. 24x7 accessibility is becoming the norm. If you protest or complain you're branded a slacker, troublemaker or God forbid, "Not a Team Player". Keep your resume up to date and be prepared to change jobs. If you do speak up, which is good, be prepared for some heat.
  • Frivolous hogwash?.

    Anyone who is anyone in the California tech field knows this is absolute BS?. I believe it was 2004 when anyone with the word engineer in his or her title was required by state labor law to be bumped to an exempt salaried position. And salaried positions never got OT and still don?t.

    The friends I have that are long time Apple employees said that Apple has always been religious about making sure that anyone who was hourly claimed all their OT and was paid for it.

    I can?t confirm it with absolute certainty, but I heard a little bird say something to the effect that walsh is a disgruntled ex phone jocky who was fired for being a moron and is now heading a frivolous lawsuit in hopes that Apple will settle just to shut him up.

    Apple doesn?t settle? They never have? ever.

    That?s part of the problem with doing business in California as well as the US?. There isn?t a penalty for waging a frivolous lawsuit? In the UK, if a person brings a frivolous lawsuit and they lose, they have to pay the salaries and expenses for everyone involved? That is what we need in the US? That is the epitome of fair and just.

    Effin Lawyers and politicians.... Crooked bastards... It's gonna take another revolution to fix things. Americans stabbing other Americans in the back because they are lazy low life slobs who don't have the integrity to earn thier way.
    • really?

      He worked for Apple for 12 years as a "moron", you say? I guess they just didn't figure it out sooner?

      Your "friends" and "little bird" have no meaning here. Neither are pertinent to the case, and I suspect neither are accurate in the least.

      The point, since you missed it, was that Apple intentionally moved him into a job classification so they could avoid paying overtime. If you read the actual complaint, you'd have known that. They classified him as a "Network Engineer", when in reality he was simply support staff, not an engineer at all.

      I applaud the lawsuit, not from the standpoint that he's right in this case, but that the term "engineer" be more strictly defined, to stop any company from purposely classifying anyone using a computer or plugging in a cable as an "engineer" an avoiding overtime payment.

      Unfortunately, as a programmer, I'm destined for non-overtime status. That's why I work as a contractor, for exactly that reason.
      • LOL!!!

        If you knew anything at all about the labor law, A company cannot clasify an employee as an engineer unless they actually are an engineer and are not tied to help desk calls.

        I was an engineer for 5 years with Oracle when that law was changed. Prior to that law going into effect I was able to work a 3x12 schedule and had a ton of free time on my days off. When that law came down the pipe, I lost my 3x12s and had to go to a 5x8 schedule like the rest of the schmoes.

        That law was crystal clear and not open to interpretation... If he was salaried, he wasn't tied to a phone. He is responsible for taking and reporting his comp time, not anyone else... (part of being salaried in California). He doesn't have a leg to hop on.
  • RE: The shine is off another apple

    Well, I think most white collar professionals do not
    get overtime regardless of their job. Technical
    guys and laborers usually do. As an Architect, I
    have worked in many firms and have never even
    heard of an Architect, Engineer or Designer, make
    overtime, but If the guy swinging the hammer or
    installing the electrical service down at the site is
    asked to stay 5 minutes over, he will demand time
    and a half for those five minutes. That has been
    my experience in my field. And yes technically it is
    illegal to not pay overtime, but I have found it very
    rarely offered.
  • No overtime pay = unanswered calls

    When I did on-call tech support, we were given an on-call bonus for the week and paid overtime at a min of 1 hour per call. If there was no pay for being on-call, you can be sure I would not be answering the pages. If he worked the calls on his own time and never received compensation for it, why would anyone continue to do it?
  • RE: The shine is off another apple

    It's each time fantastically full of twists and turns to not be of the same mind by you in that top
    <a href="">Order provigil</a> / <a href="">valtrex</a> / <a href="">propecia</a> / <a href="">buy Finpecia</a> / <a href="">buy Zithromax</a> / <a href="">order Periactin</a> / <a href="http://">order nuvugul</a>
    order Propecia