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Apple Lawsuit Alleging California Labor Violations Gets Underway

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San Diego, CAA lawsuit filed by Apple employees alleging the company violated California labor law by not providing employees with proper meal and rest breaks is underway in San Diego. As many as 18,000 employees could be affected by the lawsuit. Apple has also recently faced allegations it denied employees overtime pay by not properly compensating workers for time spent waiting for bag and security checks.

The meal and rest break lawsuit was filed in 2011, given class action status in 2014, and survived a motion for dismissal two years ago. According to Mac Rumors (10/17/16), plaintiffs allege Apple did not provide proper meal and rest breaks, did not give employees accurate wage statements, and did not pay final wages within the required time.

Apple also faced an overtime lawsuit alleging the company forced employees to spend up to 90 minutes unpaid time weekly waiting for mandatory bag and security checks before they could leave the work site. The judge in that lawsuit ruled in favor of Apple, finding that employees could have avoided the bag checks by not bringing a bag with them to work. The judge also found that because employees were waiting passively during that time, rather than working, they could not be compensated for it.

There are some situations in which employees can claim they should be paid for time spent before and after work duties. In those cases, however, the courts examine whether the activity was necessary for the carrying out of work duties, and whether or not the activities benefitted the employer. For example, time spent logging into and out of computer programs at a call center might be considered compensable time. Putting on and taking off safety gear for a job might also be considered compensable.

And when that time goes above and beyond the 8-hour work day, that time could also be considered overtime. Recently, a ruling concerning overtime that was originally in favor of DuPont was overturned by a federal appeals court. Employees filed a lawsuit alleging they should have been paid time for donning and doffing protective gear. DuPont argued it offset the lack of donning and doffing pay with pay for a mid-day break. A lower court found DuPont was in the right to do so, but the federal appeals court ruled DuPont is not allowed to offset donning and doffing time with pay for break time. The lawsuit was remanded to trial court, where the judge can determine how many hours the workers are owed, according to Bloomberg BNA (10/11/16).

The Apple meal and break lawsuit is Felczer et al v. Apple Inc. case number 37-2011-00102953, in Superior Court for the State of San Diego. The Apple security check lawsuit was Frlekin et al. v. Apple Inc, case number 3:13-cv-03451. The DuPont lawsuit is Smiley v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., case number 14-4583.

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