Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Worm In the Apple

This is not how you should treat employees, and if they're required to submit to this then it should be done while on the clock:
A federal judge has ruled that Apple must defend a class-action trial, to begin in January, representing thousands of Apple store workers. The employees claim they had to spend as much as 20 minutes off the clock having their bags searched to combat employee theft—known as "shrinkage"—every time they left the premises.

According to US District Judge William Alsup's ruling: (PDF)
In stores where searches were performed by the manager on duty, some employees say they had to scour the store to find a manager and wait until that manager finished with other duties, such as assisting a customer. Where searches were performed by a security guard, some employees had to wait until a security guard became available. Some employees sometimes had to wait in line. Employee estimates of the duration of the whole process, including both searches and wait times, range from five minutes to up to twenty minutes per search, with extremes occurring during busy periods such as product launches or holiday seasons. By contrast, managers estimate wait times at only a few seconds.

Alsup's decision applies to about 12,400 workers in California, which has more employee-friendly work regulations than those of the federal government or other states. Alsup allowed the litigation to continue despite the Supreme Court ruling in 2014 that warehouse workers for Amazon.com in Nevada could be forced to spend as much as 25 minutes off the clock to undergo security screenings at the end of their shift.
Thursday's decision sets the stage for a rare public glimpse into how Apple treats its retail store workers. Store workers in 2012 e-mailed Apple chief Tim Cook saying the search policy treated employees "as criminals."

1 comment:

Steve USMA '85 said...

Should they be on the clock? I am not so sure. For instance, in the military you are required to be at your place of work at the start of the day. Goes for both folks in uniform and civilians (both Feds & contractors). However, on many posts, you have to go through security to get on post. Many times this is a lengthy process. The employee is expected to calculate this into their travel time and are not paid for it.

Many civilian firms have the same sort of security. Try getting onto a Lockheed Martin, Fidelity Investments, or LaGuardia Airport without going through a screening process. Again, the expectation is that you are at your desk by start time, not still going through the security line. At many of these type of installations, you have to be screened to get back out to ensure you are not taking any Government or company secrets out the door.

Apple's security is similar. Sure, the employees may think they are being treated as criminals. But, a private firm has no requirement to assume innocence as a courtroom must. If the employees don't like it, they can find employment elsewhere.