|Apple Sued by Workers for Unpaid Overtime|
|By SUSANNA KIM (@skimm)||Jul 31, 2013, 11:44 AM|
Two former Apple Inc. retail employees have sued the tech giant for "millions of dollars" for unpaid wages and overtime compensation, alleging hourly employees had to wait in line and undergo off-the-clock security bag searches after they had clocked out.
In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco last Thursday, one plaintiff, Amanda Frlekin of Los Angeles, said she was paid $12.10 to $15.60 an hour when she worked at a Century City retail store from August 2010 to April 2013, according to the lawsuit.
When Frlekin clocked out for her uncompensated meal breaks and at the end of her shift, she alleges she waited for at least five to 10 minutes, without compensation, as other employees had their bags checked, according to the lawsuit. She claims the waiting time totaled about 50 minutes to 1.5 hours a week of unpaid overtime, which over the course of the year came to about $1,500 in unpaid wages, according to the lawsuit.
The other plaintiff, Dean Pelle of Brooklyn, N.Y., alleged Apple made similar bag inspections when he worked in Apple stores in Atlanta, West Palm Beach, Fla., and New York City. Pelle was paid an hourly rate of about $18.75, and claims $1,400 in uncompensated wages, according to the lawsuit.
A spokeswoman for Apple told ABC News that the company does not comment on pending litigation. The plaintiffs and their attorneys did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.
The plaintiffs allege that by not compensating its retail workers for the waiting time, Apple has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to compensate all nonexempt employees at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for work performed in excess of 40 hours a week. That federal law also requires employers to pay at least minimum wage for all hours worked.
The plaintiffs also allege that the company violated the California Labor Code for nonpayment of the minimum wage, overtime wages and wage statement penalties, the California Unfair Competition Law for "unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice" and New York Labor Law for nonpayment of wages and unpaid overtime.
The plaintiffs are hoping to expand their lawsuit into a class action that represents Apple retail employees over the past three years. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs are also hoping to represent retail employees in Apple's California and New York stores for even longer periods, the Associated Press reported.
Other retail employees have filed lawsuits against Polo Ralph Lauren and Forever 21 making similar allegations. In 2010, the Polo Ralph Lauren lawsuit was reportedly settled for $4 million.
Apple's employee conduct manual specifies that all employees are subject to personal package and bag searches, like many other retail workers across the country. If employees refuse the bag searches, they could be subject to termination.
Yana Walton, communications director for Retail Action Project, an advocacy group for retail workers, said her organization has "secured back wages for hundreds of retail workers who have experienced wage theft" in New York City.
"Unfortunately, retail workers experience wage theft in many ways, and like employees at Forever 21 and Polo Ralph Lauren who filed similar suits, unpaid mandatory job functions are tantamount to wage theft," she said.