Just this week in the case of Frlekin et al v. Apple, Inc., Apple won a federal lawsuit brought by more than 12,000 of its former and current retail workers over Apple’s written policy relating to bag search practices at the company’s California outlets stores. Apple’s retail stores enforce a written policy called “Employee Package and Bag Searches” intended to thwart internal theft. The employees sought to be reimbursed for lost wages related to the time Apple used to conduct these searches. The employees’ lawsuit alleged that the screenings and bag searches are conducted every time sales reps leave the store, including during meal and rest breaks. The lawsuit could have cost Apple up to $60 million.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco ruled just this week that Apple workers can choose not to bring a bag to work, and thus would not be subjected to the delays of a search. “Rather than prohibiting employees from bringing bags and personal Apple devices into the store altogether,” Alsup wrote, “Apple took a milder approach to theft prevention and offered its employees the option to bring bags and personal Apple devices into a store subject to the condition that such items must be searched when they leave the store.” This is definitely good news for California employers.