updated 01:21 pm EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
Explanation used to fight lawsuit over unpaid hours
Apple is asking for a summary judgment in a lawsuit over unpaid retail labor on the premise that the bag checks it institutes aren't mandatory, says The Recorder. Apple Store workers who bring in bags and Apple gear are forced to undergo screening when they leave at the end of their shifts, which consumes potentially billable time. In a Thursday hearing, though, lawyers for Apple claimed that the screenings aren't mandatory if workers don't bring in bags or electronics.
A motion submitted by Apple's legal team -- Littler Mendelson -- states that "Because Apple does not require any employee to bring a bag or personal Apple technology to work, employees who report to work without bags or personal technology are fully capable of performing their jobs." During the hearing, though, US District Judge William Alsup challenged both points of view. "Could someone argue that maybe it's not so easy to leave those things behind, and it's a necessity of life?" he asked Littler Mendelson's Julie Dunne.
Lee Shalov, a McLaughlin & Stern lawyer for the plaintiffs, suggested that Apple was attempting "sleight of hand" by redefining the definition of mandatory. A brief submitted by Shalov's team proposes that following Apple's logic could lead to odd results in things like a pending Supreme Court case, Integrity Stafﬁng Solutions v. Busk. "By Apple's reasoning, the security screenings in Busk would not be compensable because employees can 'choose' not to wear clothes to work, and, therefore, can avoid the company's metal detectors," Shalov writes. "Similarly, employees can theoretically 'choose' not to have hair and thereby avoid spending time needed to don protective headware."
Alsup is due to rule on the summary judgment request within a week. Although the case is about unpaid hours, Apple's motion also attacks the work histories of the plaintiffs. Amanda Frlekin left Apple voluntarily, but is said to have been reprimanded for taking long breaks and lying about them, and also calling her manager a "c**t." Adam Kilker was fired for buying products with his employee discount and then returning them at another store for full price. Dean Pelle was fired for getting into an argument with a customer, and has allegedly admitted to filing suit in revenge. Brandon Fisher was asked to resign in 2012 instead of being fired for performance problems.