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Lead plaintiff Amanda Frlekin sued Apple Inc., the Cupertino-based technology giant in 2013, claiming it illegally withheld pay from workers who had to spend five to 20 minutes on average waiting for managers and security officers to search their bags and verify their Apple devices before they could leave for lunch breaks or at the end of shifts.

In 2015, Senior U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted summary judgment in favor of Apple, finding that because store employees chose to bring bags and Apple devices to work, they could not prove the bag checks were mandatory. He found Apple could have imposed an even stricter policy by banning workers from bringing bags or personal Apple devices to stores. This ruling gave rise to the decision by the California Supreme Court, and subsequent reversal of the summary judgment by the 9th Circuit in September 2020.

In a unanimous February 13, 2020 decision, the California Supreme Court in the case of Frlekin v. Apple Inc., held that the time spent by employees waiting for and undergoing security checks of bags and other personal items is compensable time under California law, even when the policy only applies to employees who choose to bring personal items to work.

This month a California district court approved a $30.4 million settlement agreement between Apple and the class of workers who were required to undergo off-the-clock bag searches. The settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge William Alsup on August 13th, ends the California employment law legal battle that began nearly a decade ago.

From the gross settlement amount, the court approved Individual Class Payments in the aggregate amount of Twenty Million Five Hundred Two Thousand Five Hundred Ninety-Nine Dollars and three cents ($20,502,599.03) as fair, reasonable, and adequate.

This payment will be made to the 14,678 members of the class action, resulting in an approximate net payment per class member of $1,328, according to the Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement. .

The remaining $10 million will be used to pay for attorneys’ fees, litigation costs and other payments.

Over the last several years, the question of whether the time employees spent having their bags checked at work is compensable has arisen in several different contexts, in California and across the country:

In late 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk (135 S. Ct. 513, 574 US 27, 190 L. Ed. 2d 410) held that security checks are not compensable time under federal law because they are not part of the actual workday.

However in California, employees in most industries must be paid for the time they are subject to the control of their employer, not just the time spent doing work. This is so because, since 1947, California has specifically departed from federal law and has provided greater protection to working employees.