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Apple store workers should be paid for time waiting to be searched, court rules (www.latimes.com)
464 points by danso 5 months ago | hide | past | web | 338 comments | favorite

> Employees are supposed to find a manager or security officer to do the searches after they clock out. Employees estimate that waiting for and undergoing the searches can take five to 20 minutes, or, on busiest days, up to 45 minutes.

This also seems to be their process for picking up orders at the store. It's pure chaos, and I find it at least somewhat amusing that at least Apple treats their employees and customers identically.

Does Apple really have a “process” for picking items up? I ordered a maxed out iMac Pro for around $15,000 and waited nearly a month for it to finally arrive at the store. I got a voice mail and an email instructing me to come pick it up. Only upon driving all the way to the store was I finally informed in person that they “accidentally” gave my iMac Pro to the wrong customer an hour ago who had merely ordered a base model iMac. Their solution was to reorder mine and I’d need to wait yet another month to get it. I don’t really see how it’s possible to hand an online order to the wrong customer. The customer name is in large bold text on the barcode sticker on the box that they scan before completing the sale. The employees weren’t able to explain how it happened. They didn’t even try to articulate a process by which they would discover who was responsible. Just told me they were totes sorry and stuff.

They went to great lengths to avoid any communication about the theft taking place through Apple’s systems. They intentionally made me waste my time to come in person before telling me what would happen next.

I believe an Apple Store employee knew what orders were coming to the store and he wanted mine for himself, so he conspired with his friend to come pick it up for the price of a base model iMac.

I was recently interested in buying a maxed out Mac Pro for 50k+ but this experience has frightened me into avoiding expensive custom orders from Apple. Furthermore I don’t want to risk some rogue employee’s goons taking it to the next level by physically attacking me and robbing me on the way to my car. I’m probably not going to order a Mac Pro until I can find bodyguards to hire to escort me from the store through the shopping center and to my car. Which means I’ll probably never order a Mac Pro. None of this is sarcasm or hyperbole.

Are you listening, Tim? Probably not.

In the minds of the corporate workers that came up with the Apple Store Brand Story, every Apple Store employee is your best friend and will jump at the opportunity to assist you, Apple's most loyal customer, with anything you need. So of course they're not going to make you wait in line like the PC Guy from those ads from 10 years ago would; they will be waiting for you when you walk in, just like Hachikō waited each night for his owner at Shibuya station. For nine years after he died.

Over in the real world, the employees have spent 10 hours of their 12 hour shift explaining to the world's least-technically-adept people how to activate their Verizon service with 4 prepaid debit cards and a ripped $20 bill. Sixty times. While being yelled at. So... they might accidentally not notice you if you just come in and don't aggressively try to attract their attention. I do not blame them.

Perhaps they should keep a few staff in reserve as the equivalent of "tier-2 technical support", such that those people never deal with the mundane stuff, and so never get driven to distraction by the inanity of it.

Oh, wait, that's the Apple Store Business team, isn't it?

They used to do that. In the Apple Store video Steve put together, he explained that the geniuses would be well trained Mac technicians that could fix most anything, and when they couldn’t, there was a phone they could pick up to talk to a engineer at HQ.

Now, due to cost (although price has gone up for the stuff), the Geniuses are no longer trained at HQ, and there are now lower level “technicians” that can’t do much more than give you a new phone.

There are now close to 1 billion iPhone users around the world. With only 506 Apple Stores, and over half of those Stores are in US.

After Angela left Apple, the first thing they did were "revert" all the thing changes back to Steve Jobs era.

Basically Apple Retail has been a pile of mess since Steve passed away, not keeping up with the huge iPhone growth, and none of the Retail SVP had any idea what is best for Apple Store.

>ripped $20 bill

This is a hilarious problem to anyone who has been using polymer bills for nearly a decade.

Um, polymer bills rip too.

Don't forget the dreaded crease that causes it to not be accepted by vending machines, supermarket self-serves, etc.

only if they're cut. In practice I can tell you how many ripped bills I've dealt with since we've had them. 0.

Just use cards. They don't tear.




Blanket, universal surveillance as well as zero-burden-of-proof government point-and-click seizure/disablement is the cost.

You cannot have a free society without a payment system that the government or a few large banks do not have the ability to arbitrarily censor, even temporarily.

You can not communicate or organize anonymously (for example, for political organization or government corruption investigative journalism) when every payment you need to do so is logged as a matter of course. These activities are not common, but essential to a free society.

The ability to transact in things the government does not like, without their knowing about it, is a cornerstone of freedom. Many other human rights crumble if you do not preserve it.

I keep my credit card in the back pocket of my trousers (like I would keep cash). I need to reorder the card every 3-12 months from the bank, as the chip breaks from sitting on it.

> Furthermore I don’t want to risk some rogue employee’s goons taking it to the next level by physically attacking me and robbing me on the way to my car.

I don't think this is the right mindset—theft from your own employer is a white-collar crime. The type of people who would even be morally okay with stealing iMacs out of people's hands wouldn't be bothering to work for the store in the first place; they'd be bribing security to get in and then shuttling boxes into a van. Or holding up a delivery truck full of iMacs.

Also, getting a job specifically to steal from your employer is a pretty long-term strategy; it doesn't pay off if you only do it a couple of times. If you're doing this, you're probably doing it because you have a specific play that allows you to do it over and over without increasing the compound probability of getting caught—i.e. one that doesn't really generate any evidence personally implicating you (like the testimony of hired goons when later caught by the police), only equivocal evidence (like the fact that the person who came in to buy an iMac is a friend of the employee.) Really, generating negative utility for any individual (rather than just a corporation) in your theft, is a pretty surefire way to have someone (e.g. that same individual) take a look into what's going on.

> If you're doing this, you're probably doing it because you have a specific play that allows you to do it over and over without increasing the compound probability of getting caught—

No, most people who do it are just irrational.

If you were doing it rationally, sure, that would pretty nearly require what you say to be true, but assuming that everyone acts rationally is...inaccurate.

Most crimes have a pretty poor return on investment. That's why criminals tend to be poor.

For example, the people around criminals tend to know they are criminals (and criminals often brag about begin criminals). People don't trust criminals and don't want to do business with them - leaving the criminal with fewer legitimate options for making money.

Criminals tend to be poor because the types of things defined as crimes have poor risk reward profiles and only make sense if you’re poor. Fraudulently advertising OxyContin and causing a drug epidemic that kills half a million people doesn’t make you a criminal, it makes you a philanthropist — you have to pistol-whip a clerk at a liquor store to become a criminal.

You've got that backwards.

Most criminals are poor because poverty drives people to crime.

Or perhaps an incompetent employee really just gave it to the wrong customer? Maybe they were tired and distracted after a long day at their insufferable retail job? Maybe someone forgot to put your identifying sticker on the box?

Seems unlikely that hussle pulled on you would work more than once, ever.

I've worked at jobs where this same exact scam was done for three orders of magnitude less profit, this seems totally reasonable.

and i've worked at computer big box stores and incompetent staff just fucked up accidentally. not saying either way here but it's certainly within the realm of possibility that it's a messup.

Of course you were going to buy a $50k computer to a luxury brand but can't find bodyguards.

Which maybe it is even the case; and in that case you probably should think hard about if you are not slowly drifting away from the reality as experienced by the vast majority of other people.

Yep, Apple probably does not care much about your profile as a prospect.

Tim already has you covered, it's called shipping with required signature. They can deliver to your home or work.

Amusingly enough I've had that method fail while ordering an iMac a few years ago.

I requested delivery-with-signature on a $4k iMac and it got delivered to another house three blocks away. They didn't ask for the signature (though they were supposed to); they just left a $4k computer on the curb. It was marked as delivered. I'm lucky to have an honest neighbor who brought it to my doorstep (no thanks to Apple and their logistics partners).

That's the couriers problem then. If a signature was required for a $4k item it's contingent on them to get it into the receiver's hands. Your neighbor saved you and the courier a great deal of money. Apple would have filed a claim and sent you another $4k iMac that UPS/Fedex/DHL would be paying for.

From a liability perspective you’re probably right. I just mean it’s Apple that picks the courier, and that that solution to delivery can fail in basically the same way as store pickup (as happened to me).

Apple's lucky that you have an honest neighbour. The computer wasn't your responsibility since you never signed for it.

So you're saying "he's ordering it wrong"?

I see what you did there.

in all seriousness though, yes? if you have to wait for the item to be shipped regardless, why would you order it to a store instead of your front door? it's the worst of both worlds.

The trustworthiness of last-mile delivery could have something to do with it.

They can get away with this because they're essentially a cash machine. As long as people keep buying their products and putting up with bad experiences, this will continue. Why spend money on improving customer experience when you have record sales?

You could have bought your machine via craigslist next day for a nice discount then cancelled the order.

Which would not raise any red flags at all, while also not painting a target on you marked "cui prodest".

Ship it to your office, private mail box, or home?

His fault for ordering it to the store -- and expecting it to be no problem to pick it up there?

If you have it shipped you're not responsible for it until you sign for it.

If you’re going to spend $50,000 on a computer, you can probably hire two security guards / off duty cops for an hour each at $250 an hour?

The whole notion of employing off duty police as security is antithetical to the proper administration of justice and highlights systematic malaise.

As well as the fear of robbery for such a low value and traceable item.

Edit because I can't reply:

Just off duty police. Police have significant powers, even off duty. In addition, if you pay them well they might do favors for you when on duty. Like looking for someone in the police databases, telling you about police operations etc.

There are many security guards who are not people who failed to become police. Some are ex police, ex Army etc, but there are limited situations when an armed response is rational, and a $50k Mac is not one of them. An insurance policy is much cheaper.

Having said that, I recommend Samoans (wide) and Sudanese (tall) for unarmed intimidation potential.

I wouldn’t call $50k a “low value” item. What item does the average person own that’s worth $50k besides a house or a car?

Watches, jewellery etc.

Low value is relative. $50k is a lot to many people, but compared to human life, $50k isn't worth the risk.

Do you oppose security guards in general, or only off-duty police officers working as security guards? I ask because as far as I can tell the practical alternative is to hire some guy who flunked out of the police academy and became a security guard instead, which seems... worse.

Personally I navigate life without hiring any security guards. But I recognize that some people and/or circumstances might have legitimate need for one.

I think the beef is with the idea that police have a trusted role in society, that is incompatible with being "goons for hire"

I’d just open carry my .45 into the Apple store. Probably wouldn’t go over well with the typical Apple crowd, but guarantee you won’t be robbed.

click the timestamp of a comment to always reply

>Are you listening, Tim? Probably not.

This is a question for Jeff Williams, COO at Apple. I am often surprised with the amount of 3rd parties that Apple interacts with and the lack of integration between each group. Apple is the company of seamless integration after all...

Had a similar but less dramatic experience happen this last December when I decided to trade in and purchase an iPhone 11. There was a dead pixel on the screen so I return + exchanged it, however Apple quoted me a different price after the exchange. No idea house this happened, but they still let it go through. What takes the cake is when the genius at the pickup line tried to give me two pairs of AirPods as I was leaving the store “you bought these right?” I had to respectfully decline the free AirPods and left wondering at the pre-Christmas chaos that was taking place.

My girlfriend's track pad was acting up. The Genius said it wasn't working because she had Google Chrome installed, and wasn't using Safari.

I'm not an Apple guy myself, but I lost a lot of respect for them as a company.

I know Marco Arment has talked about some kind of Apple representative who you can order through when you’re the kind of customer who is spending bank there. Maybe something to look into, I didn’t get the impression that it was the same thing as Apple business but this was years ago I heard, maybe things change. I feel like if you ask Apple may have some experience with dealing with security around the walking with a massive purchase thing.

Now I’m kinda wondering if you could build a nice “rich people buying shit logistics” lifestyle biz though.

You'd be surprised how unsophisticated it actually is for the rich. I have a friend who has this taxi driver guy go buy everything she needs out on the town and deliver it to her. Yes, a yellow cab driver. Groceries, clothing, a new laptop, whatever. He brings it and she pays him well.

That’s pretty wild. I wonder how those relationships develop and how sticky they are. C’mon, someone go halfsies with me on a Trunk Club spin on postmates et al

Friend of mine makes hourly what many people earn in a week ($1k hourly billable), so while they lived in LA it made sense to have someone drive them from the airport back home because what should take ~20 minutes at most usually took 2 hours.

During those two hours they could work, and thus make money, it didn't make sense to drive themselves.

Their company hired a particular car hire service and the drivers would get rotated through a schedule, but they ended up having a particularly good relationship with a particular driver.

So they dropped the contract with the company, and basically just paid the one driver himself, basically a personal chauffeur, but with a schedule that is known two weeks ahead of time, with some emergencies, but not 24/7.

Eventually this allowed said driver to buy a couple of cars, and start a company himself, while always making sure to take care of my family member first and foremost himself.

They trusted the driver with their children, and for certain purchases the driver would either go pick up items (such as jewelry/high end clothes) or their driver would drive a consultant (personal shopper) to go do the shopping/pickups.

My friend moved away from the LA area, but used the same driver for ~6 years or so, the driver now runs a high-end private car hire service that offers services to cater specifically to people that need services like that. No advertising, word of mouth only, and everyone involved is highly vetted and trusted.

It's pretty amazing how much time you get back when you can pay someone else to do the things that take time but don't really provide happiness in life. Such as cleaning/driving/cooking/household chores that the rest of us have to do ourselves, and thus is all billable time.

In her case, he took her to the airport once and she liked him, so she started always using him for rides there. Then she started having him run little errands for her and it just expanded from there. This is what taskrabbit looked like for the wealthy in 1992.

It’s the Apple Store business team and you absolutely should buy through them, especially for custom hardware because the discounts are significant for those items (not so much for iPhones and other consumer base models)

Out of curiosity, why would you go with a top-end Mac Pro instead of a server at that price point?

What server? The closest thing Apple sells is the rack mount mac pro. (I'm assuming it needs to run Mac OS for application compatibility)

Can you get it delivered directly to your home/business? Might be a solution.

and get it tossed out of the UPS truck as it does a slow drive-by your address.

The irony here being that UPS / Fedex ship to the stores.

Anything worth over $500 is going to automatically require a signature on delivery, so little chance it’ll just get tossed off the truck.

Hah. About half the Signature Required deliveries I've received from Apple (and Dell, to be fair) at my home... haven't.

Ups will leave a brand new MacBook Pro on your front lawn at 8 at night

They probably get paid on commission for walk-in sales.

I’ve seen other stores appropriate internet orders to make a sale. From the salespersons perspective they don’t have much to lose.

Apple retail employees aren’t paid on commission AFAIK. Flat rate whether you buy an iPad or a $15k Mac Pro. The theory was to avoid the “grandma got talked into a multi thousand dollar computer and a billion accessories she didn’t need because that’s how the employee gets the most money.

Yeah I got jipped at AT&T with a bunch of add-ons which were not explained and ended up with like three lines. Flat rates are the way to go but something has to be done about issues like employees conspiring.

"was recently interested in buying a maxed out Mac Pro for 50k+.."

Wow what do you do that requires a $50k computer?

Why are you ordering this to the store and not to your home?

Not OP, but I usually order items to the nearest store not my home - I can't control when something is delievered to my home, and if I miss the delivery I have to go to the nearest depot which is a massive pain in the back. Instead I can get most things delivered to a store nearby and just pick them up on my way back from work.

A maxed out computer is a perishable good - it's not going to be maxed out for long - and when it isn't the price falls rapidly. Did you get compensated for one month's depreciation?

The fact that there seems to have been no compensation is evidence to me that this was an intentional scam by the employee and they're doing what they can not to call attention to it. In my experience Apple is extremely generous with compensating for errors like this. For example, when I sent my MBP 2016 in for a keyboard repair, they decided to take that opportunity to upgrade the SSD from 256GB to 1TB. This is just one example of many. I used to do technical support for Apple in the beginning of my tech career and they gave us a huge budget to throw money at people.

How does q corporations unwillingness to spend money connect with the idea that it’s a scam? I mean, it could be a scam.. but how does this specific piece of evidence connect?

It sounds more like a piece of unrelated information that you are leveraging to support the story you told yourself.

The premise is that Apple is very generous with apology compensation / gifts, even outside of repairs. An agent doing so over a certain $ amount draws additional attention to the individual from the business. These coupled with the fact that they received no compensation or gift indicates a number of things, among which is that they chose not to gift anything to minimize attention brought to themselves. I'm just hypothesizing. Regardless, they clearly need to be retrained.

The upgrading stuff in computer when it’s sent in is not uncommon though.

Corporate would love to hear this story.

>Furthermore I don’t want to risk some rogue employee’s goons taking it to the next level by physically attacking me and robbing me on the way to my car.

I laughed. This is why customer interaction is often kept minimal, rediculous concerns like this.

If you need a bodyguard when you buy a new computer, perhaps it's a sign that you are spending a bit too much money on it.

What's the alternative? For the right professions, compute is time is money (software builds, video encoding, 3D rendering, etc.), and not all of them distribute nicely (I've never even seen distcc actually used).

The alternative is to spend less, to share resources between employees, or to rent. You can rent a much more powerful rendering farm in the cloud for less money than a full option Mac pro. Video encoding can be done in good quality and good time on a 200€ smartphone. If you push the settings to the max, you still don't need a 50k€ computer... And for software builds, just take a coffee break whenever you feel like rebuilding everything on your local machine. The company should have build servers too.

Really? (this is more of a genuine huh than a rhetorical huh) I guess I have relatively low expectations as a customer, but my most recent experience was picking up a laptop fixed up by AppleCare and I had to wait about 5 minutes for people ahead of me, but an employee found a place for me to sit and wait, and directed the relevant laptop-service employee to me when he was available.

It seemed like a reasonable in-store delay even though Apple was fully obligated to service my laptop under warranty (and had to ship it out for a few days to do so).

It depends greatly on your apple retail store location, many of them are fairly tight run little ships, but some (say my local fashion island location) seemingly are huge groups of people milling about - I waited 30+ minutes so that an equivalent of a retail store clerk would let me buy a computer I had no questions about.

I would note that it's likely faster to buy the computer from the website/app while standing in the store, and then ask them to bring it out.

They're "more free" to do the pure bringing-stuff-out, because they know they might have to budget 30 mins or more for a complex purchase with lots of hand-holding and transferring and stuff, while a bring-out is always going to be short.

And, if you don't have your phone on you, you could buy a Mac using one of the demo Macs. I think that's almost part of the reason they're there, at this point—they certainly do prominently feature the Buy Now buttons on the kiosk modes they pop into.

I didnt ask them to bring it out - I walked in, they asked me what my purpose was, and I said "I want to buy the most recent macbook pro with an upgraded ssd, your middle tier option" and then they scheduled me to take a seat.

I guess I should have gone around the store and figured that out?

How would I have known that clicking a button on a computer in the store will get me a person faster than an actual person telling me they will get me a person and not just that same person eventually coming out knowing I clicked the button?

I would not feel comfortable putting my credit card details into a display model.

The secret to all of Fashion Island is only ever going during regular business hours on weekdays. Otherwise the whole place is a nut house.

They are all tight little ships until they get overrun with people. Just like everywhere.

I was asked to wait 45 minutes to pick up a bought and paid for phone.

I left and came back later and found a more reasonable sales person, but still ended up waiting about 10 minutes.

Then there was the time I made a service appointment, showed up slightly before my appointment, and waited 35 minutes for a “genius” to look at my phone.

I don’t know if it’s just my local store, but I avoid Apple stores as much as I can now.

Same experiences here. Ever since they went to the kind of free-for-all approach it's not been a good experience going to a store. I miss the days too when they actually had a checkout counter. Way easier than trying to flag someone down.

From the experiences described, there’s a sense that corporate threw a bunch of ideas at district managers (or whatever their hierarchy is) without follow-through of trying to identify pinch points and develop a process to correct them.

It might be an issue of mindset within the company. The problems described seem regional (overcrowded stores, shady/burnt-out retail staff in some areas; positive experiences in others) that each need a separate approach but are lumped together in Apple’s one-size-fits-all approach to everything.

I predict that Apple will close their retail stores by the end of the decade, citing improved logistics). Apple products will continue to be sold at third-party retailers until the company folds or pivots in another 10 years.

I don’t think so, unless they can’t get the experience quality issue under control and it starts damaging the brand. The stores serve an outreach component that 3rd party retailers can’t. As much as I hate them, the classes they host are always well attended and I’m pretty sure they have a small business coordinator that makes sales that won’t happen otherwise. They remain a major differentiation point versus Android to, enabling the forever tolerance of AAPLs insane margins.

Yeah that's messed up. Handing off already-paid for equipment should be smooth and a priority for them. Trying to think back when I picked up laptops, and it was always quick. But I had the freedom to go in during slow hours.

Microcenter got this right. They have a dedicated section and register for internet pickups. It's fantastic!

I thought this was the common thing to do now. I don’t go out to stores too much. But Target and Best Buy were my last two and both have sections on side for pick up.

Apple really broke the stores with their reengineering process.

The store in my area is too small, always packed and too noisy. The employees are really good and make the experience bearable, but they really converted an awesome, friendly retail experience and made it stressful and inefficient.

The people who design the non-flagship stores don’t spend much time in them.

Apple treats the regular variables that retail stores must suffer as unbearable undefined behavior. They try to regulate and define too much. Their customers truly are, literally and figuratively, treated like sheep at every opportunity.

I would prefer to be treated like a sheep. "Stand in this line and wait your turn." Not very respectful to our individualism and creativity. But a great way to get your online order at a store! I have a barcode, you have a barcode scanner and my phone... a match made in heaven.

The problem is that they have some sort of "Think different!!" thing going on and it's not working out. I am surprised Steve Jobs drove a car with round wheels. That's not very different!

The store I use LOOKS like chaos, but holy crap is it misleading. I'm always in and out of there very quickly, whether it's for something simple off the shelf or a custom pick-up. Even my last new phone took only about 30 minutes.

(Houston, Highland Village.)

Interesting. They gave me like 20% (maybe 15%) off AirPods unasked and unexpectedly just because I had to wait a few minutes for them to get them for me.

I bet they still made money on them. Probably trying to hit a sales quota.

What part is how they treat customers? Recently bought a iphone 11pro and a 16" MPB and the experience was pretty seamless at the store.

But the customers deserve it. Why overpay for apple! Why!


If the company makes you do something, it’s work.

I only wish this would carry to non-California locations and to the service industry in general - when I worked as a waiter in a Rocky Mountain West state, after ending a shift we were not allowed to leave the premises until rolling exactly 100 sets of silverware. If no silverware was available, we would also have to run them through the dishwasher 2-3 times. We additionally had to perform two other "closing" tasks (e.g. restocking a particular mini-fridge, wiping down floor). This is pretty standard in the restaurant industry - the only problem is that in this state, servers are paid $2.15/hour, with the assumption that they'll make the rest up to minimum wage by serving tables.

Anyway, some nights it would take me 1.5-2 hours to leave (not atypical), and I would get a whopping $4 of pay for that time.

That sounds more like an issue with the tips system. It's one fo the worst things about visiting the USA, combined with taxes not being in the price that is.

Depending on state servers are supposed to be paid non-tipped rate for not tipped parts of work including training and meetings. Of course good luck getting that without being at willed for "unrelated" reasons.

I forget the details or where this applies but someone before on here has mentioned that restaurants are allowed to use a certain percentage of tipped workers time on non-tipable duties like those types of tasks. The usual caveat of minimum wage after tips would still apply.

It's perfectly legal to require servers (making the server minimum wage) to do up to 1/4 of the shift doing things other than serving guests.

In Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk [1], the US Supreme Court held that time spent by warehouse workers waiting to undergo and undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act.

[1] https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/integrity-staffi...

Here it was California law being interpreted by the California Supreme Court as requested by the U.S. 9th circuit Court of Appeals.

It becomes a little more tricky when it is optional, as in this case. The only thing that gets searched is a bag if you choose to bring it to work.

The simple solution for ape is to ban bags at work so nobody gets searched.

From the article:

>Apple said it could prohibit employees from bringing any bags or personal Apple devices into its stores altogether but gave them that benefit. The California Supreme Court said a ban on any personal items would be “draconian.”

And simply not hire anybody who needs medication or pre-menopausal women?

Issue a clear company branded bag. This is actually a somewhat common practice in certain US schools for safety reasons.

Continuing the dystopian theme, I see.

The simple solution would be to have a locker room where people can leave their stuff they need, but don't want/can't bring into the shop.

But that will only be the second cheapest solution as long as the problem can be made the employees' problem without paying them for it. This ruling won't make employers pay for absurd waiting times, it will give them that tiny nudge that second apparently need to find better solutions.

It's a bit more transparent, but won't make much of a difference to the bottom line in the long run:

The actual work done won't change from the relabeling, and Apple can adjust the hourly wages to get roughly to the same level of total compensation as before. (Modulo boundary effects from America's love affair with minimum wage laws, should they kick in.)

I doubt they’ll adjust the wages, if only because of the bad PR that would result.

They can also hire less, and let inflation do its thing over time.

As a thought experiment, what if companies are made to pay for commute time? How would that change the labour market? Would they hire local? Provide better transportation? Work with cities to reduce congestion? Encourage more remote work? Decide it's too expensive to hire workers and cut hours? Work towards more inclusive housing?

That is way unfair to the company, when you will have certain people who are 'happy' to travel 1.5 hours each way. This seems insane to me, but there are plenty of people who do this and see no issue at all.

How would a company hire local anyway, by rejecting candidates who live to far away? What if they promise to move, but don't end up doing it?

> Work with cities to reduce congestion?

The only real working way to do that is to ask them to introduce a congestion charge, which I am all for.

In France this problem is solved by the company compensating for 50% of the commute. Turns out not many people are "happy" about a 3-hour daily commute.

I believe that's only if you use public transport through the Pass Navigo. I'm not sure individual tickets are reimbursed, and I'm pretty sure gas isn't either.

But getting 50% off of your Navigo, which is a monthly pass allowing you unlimited use of Paris and greater Paris public transports. Which is about 75 euros. So when your are subsidised by your company with respect to public transport, you have unlimited access to all public transport in and around Paris for 38 euros. Which is nuts because the Parisian public transport network is crazy (metros, trams, buses, transiliens, RERs).

you can get individual tickets reimbursed too, my mom is working part-time around Paris and she keeps her used tickets as a proof of payement.

When I was working as a consultant at Alten, in theory my gas could have been reimbursed (based on distance travelled and car horsepower), but I never tried since I used public transport during all my time there.

Only if you come with public transport. They refund half your monthly pass then.

There's also a push to apply it to bicycles, but it's not widely implemented so far.

But it doesn't apply to car commuting.

>That is way unfair to the company

oh no, the poor poor companies ;((((((

There are about 100 reforms to the worker-owner relationship, but I don't know that "paying workers for travel" is one of them. In order for it to be somewhat reasonable and not completely abused one way or the other, you would have to look at worker wages and compare it to living options in the area of the workplace, and about five other things I could brainstorm but don't feel like enumerating at the moment.

I hear things are pretty bad in the bay area and other metropolises that have high rent and low wage. Something should be done but I'm not sure this is it.

> The only real working way to do that is to ask them to introduce a congestion charge, which I am all for.

Works really well where it was pioneered (in Singapore) and also seems to do an OK job in London.

I suspect the Brits ain't as ruthless in applying orthodox economics in general, so they don't solve their problems nearly as well including their congestion problems.

There have been multiple other UK cities with proposals for congestion charges which have been rejected. Transport doesn't really work the same way outside of the M25.

The congestion charge applies only to a tiny area inside the M25.

The congestion charges in Singapore and London weren't popular when they were introduced either. So not sure what rejection elsewhere tells us?

This is insane.

I commute a bit over an hour. Because I cannot afford to live close to my job and rent a place for me and child.

It would cost me triple my current rent.

Most people aren't 'happy' to commute 1.5 hours each way, but will 'put up with it be afford food'

I haven't noticed that most automobile commuters look emaciated. If they're commuting that far it's because they want to live in a bigger house in a more affordable neighborhood, or because they NEED to live in a state that has no winter, and not bc it's the only way to stay alive.

What happens if someone moves while at the job ? What happens if there is a traffic jam? What happens if the worker typically doesn't drive home directly after work (or doesn't come to work from home)? Etc....

The executive team can trim a few million off their annual bonuses so the very low number of workers that commute far distances can be compensated for that time sitting in the car.

Alas they can but they won’t and they’ll fight you in court so they don’t have to.

So we will be limiting this new regulation to businesses that actually can actually make a few million in profit instead of just pasting it across the whole commercial space, right?

I don’t see why exceptions couldn’t be made for smaller businesses that obviously couldn’t afford to compensate for commute.

But yes enormous, corporate conglomerates should pay.

Average commute looks roughly like ~1 hour/day [0]. For a company like Apple there are 137k employees [1] and ~250 work days/year so that's ~34M hours. Assuming hourly rate of $20/hour (since well paid employees like SWE are salaried and won't get extra pay) we get ~$680M/year extra payroll... Eh, I guess they could afford it, although my questions still stand.

[0] - https://www.visualcapitalist.com/average-commute-u-s-states-... [1] - https://www.statista.com/statistics/273439/number-of-employe...

Sign into work laptop. Then start driving to work.

If there's a traffic jam, that's the employers problem.

For 'going somewhere else after work', it wouldn't be officially allowed - you are still working till you arrive home. Obviously some workplaces could perhaps allow flexibility as a benefit.

Wow, your suggestions are insane.

It would mostly lead to distortions between workers with different commutes. The overall average compensation would change much, but you'd change the distribution between workers.

Germany has a system a bit like what you are describing, only that it's the government giving you tax rebates for long commutes. It's not a good idea.

Ponder the opposite: why not subsidize short commutes instead and give people assistance to pay the higher rent closer to the place of work? That would be much greener, too.

Just to be clear, that would be silly as well. Let workers and employers negotiate what they want to compensate and how much.

Honestly, subsidizing short commmutes is an idea I can get behind, even though I feel all of the gains would be captured by landlords.

You can do this by introducing a carbon tax (that you levy on eg petrol as well) and a road congestion charge.

Distribute the proceeds equally amongst all citizens. And in effect, anyone who commutes less than the average person gets a net positive payment. (Or technically: anyone who uses less carbon or causes less congestion than the average person.. Someone who commutes 100km by bicycle would still get a net payment. That's fine.)

But yes, these you are right, there's a danger that landholders (landlords and owner occupiers) capture the gains, even in my proposed scheme.

You deal with that via a land value tax.

From the point of view of economics, those ideas are orthodoxy. Good luck getting them past any political process anywhere in the world, though.

Sounds like a good way to mass enabling discrimination based on where you live...

I had a similar thought, about providing free wi-fi and letting people like lawyers and programmers bill the hours that they work while riding on public transit. This would create more demand. I got this idea from dealing with my patent lawyer. It seemed like 90% of the time when I got him on the phone, he was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. He could have been billing that time for all I know.

My other weird idea is to have first and second class transit, where the only difference is the price. I got the idea from the trains in Europe. The first class transit would attract people who want to feel like they are getting some exclusive service, and would help fund and support the system overall.

Not every transport mode has two classes. Only intercity trains do, but buses and subways don't.

Indeed, but imagine if they did. Would the American professional class embrace buses if there were two classes? The aversion to buses is partly social.

>As a thought experiment, what if companies are made to pay for commute time?

As someone who grew up on an island I think this is a very, very, bad idea. When distance has a high cost the price of everything skyrockets.

Most Dutch companies pay your way for the commute. They won't pay you for the time it takes to commute, but they'll pay your train fare, or give you a lease car and pay your gas money.

Then you have Belgium, where many workers get a company car with a fuel card. It means they waste only time on their commute, and the other costs are supported by the employer. You get urban sprawl, health issues because these drivers spend time stressed and stationary. It's insane and creates mobility issues. And it's hard to revert, it might mean political suicide for the ones in charge who finally fix the broken system, because now many workers have created a dependency on this free car and fuel system.

It used to be quite common in the UK then the government changed the tax system to discourage it. There were a few grumbles but it didn't seem to cause the government that many problems.

What would happen is they would require workers to live in the apartment complex across the street (aka "company housing").

Where I live, it's already the case. Many of my coworkers choose to live further away from the office because the taxes and rent are lower there. It takes me 8 minutes to bike to work but I pay more in taxes and rent. They choose to live an hour away each way to save on these (but pay to own a car, gas, and erode their health sitting in a car)

This is already the case in the UK for employees who frequently work away from their main office - the employer is expected to pay both time and expenses for travel.

It hasn't dramatically reduced commute time for those people IMO.

That’s not really a commute then though is it?

This is in the EU:

"The European Union Court of Justice has ruled that time spent traveling to and from your job counts as work, and that your employer has to pay you for it. But don’t get too excited–this only counts if you have no fixed office or place of work. The new law is designed to protect workers who travel to remote sites, straight from their home. If you commute to the same office cubicle every day, nothing changes."


That was exactly my point though - isn't a commute by definition when you go to the same place every day?

The privatization of all kinds of costs onto labor by Capital is actually a well-analyzed subject:


Labour's share of GDP has been reasonably stable over the centuries.

Yes, that’s the problem.

I don't understand.

The labour share has been roughly at 60% +/- 10% for ages.

Even getting 100% will be at most a doubling of labour's income. That's nifty, comparable to moving from Mississippi to Connecticut. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_GDP_per...)

But it's one-off. The difference between countries are bigger. And so are the difference over time.

And of course, jumping to 100% while keeping total GDP per capita constant is not really possible.

They kind of sort of do via tax. The tax helps pay for the infrastructure that allow their employees to get to work, along with contributing to a healthy and educated workforce.

If they paid directly I think it would result in a two (or more) tiered transport network, great for people in some jobs/companies but terrible for most.

The transport systems around the world are already many tiered. Unless everyone walks on their own two feet, that's pretty much a given.

Isn't this at odds with the ruling in Amazon's favor about a similar issue?


That case was under federal law. This one is under California law. The older case was decided on statutory, not Constitutional, grounds, and there was nothing in it precluding states from passing stronger laws.

No, not necessarily. Pretty narrow ruling. It depends on the facts of the cases.

The facts look quite similar to me. I think the difference is law. The Amazon case was based on U.S. law and the Apple case on California law. In the Amazon case, the ruling said "These arguments are properly presented to the employer at the bargaining table, see 29 U. S. C. §254(b)(1), not to a court in an FLSA claim."

EDIT: There's a thread about this farther down: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22322608

"A federal district court judge ruled in favor of Apple, deciding that workers had to prove they not only were restrained from leaving but that there was no way to avoid having personal items searched."

So workers that would not have a personal bag would avoid a search? You can take away stuff from the store by hiding it in your clothes, I guess unless you're working naked. How would anyone be able to avoid the search?

Am I missing something?

I think Apple was only searching bags, not patting down their employees (likely out of fear of sexual harassment allegations than any principled restraint on Apple's part.)

There are some really terrible Federal judges. And they can be there until they die of old age.

This reminds me of when I worked at a casino. I had to sign in my keys at the end of the night. My supervisor had the lock box keys and they got those keys from a Security officer. The supervisor was usually in the poker pit and couldn't leave. Other supervisors would be standing around talking about football and ignore me. I just stood there and waited making overtime while talking to the girls at the bar. The manger was so inept she couldn't get her staff to find five minutes to sign me out.

Some business seem to see your time at work as being your normal state of being and your own personal time as "unwork". I go to work for eight hours for the money trading my time for your money. The other 75% of my time is mine it's not unworking it's normal personal life.

Seems like Apple was probably selected for the class action suit due to being a prominent and hugely wealthy company (just like Google and Amazon with respective labor related activities targeting them). And that was a good strategy, because here we are discussing it.

As a society with high and growing inequality the US is structured in a way that incentivizes retail theft, so the frequency of this kind of theft isn't going down anytime soon.

The question is who should bear the cost of it.

This has always been framed as an issue of immorality of retail workers, so the cost has borne by them in the form of lost time/wages or maltreatment by police or security services. This is of course a false and incomplete framing, because it's arguably more immoral for a company to steal time / wages from all workers in this case when the product theft is only committed by a few.

What is the loss due to theft of a smartphone vs. the cost to the worker who will now double pay in lost wages and the time for extra child care caused by the delay in leaving work?

Framed economically instead it's just the cost of doing business in our society, just as with credit card fraud.

Going forward, it looks like it will be borne by the retailers and ultimately, their customers, which is far better than it being borne by workers.

This isn't new though. In the late 90's I worked for Best Buy and somewhere in early 2k's I got a check for $1500 to compensate for hours lost due to these kinds of loss prevention processes. I'm surprised it took this long for this to happen.

This is how you undermine employee loyalty to the point where they start stealing.

Exactly this. I don't live in North America so perhaps there's different expectations there, but I'd be more worried about staff cohesion and loyalty than of occasional thefts.

How should any employee take a company's concern about theft seriously when the same company is so brazenly committing theft of an employee's time?

I have completely given up trying to understand the mentality that surrounds work in the US (At least service work).

PS: it only occurred to me now, the court might actually be doing Apple a favor by forcing them to avoid a penny-pincher mistake.

Exactly. There's another link on the front page to a WWII-era field manual on how to damage morale and sabotage the enemy's production capacity. This policy could have come right out of its pages.

The whole concept of searching your employees after their shift just pisses me off.

Just install security cameras and track your inventory. If your inventory is off, check the security footage. This isn't rocket science.

The morale destruction must be enormous, being treated like a potential criminal at the end of each workday. Seems like a tech company should have a tech solution to this.

high school dropout NSA knock offs are cheaper than competent security staff.

Why can’t they just keep proper inventory and reduce their lost inventory liability with basic tracking and analytics? If high value goods go missing during a particular shift at a particular store THEN you increase security at that one store or ideally track which employee took the goods and make an example of them by taking them to civil court since the average Apple product is much more then petty theft...

Is this common in the US? (retail workers being searched)

I don't know about in the US, but in Canada, I used to work at Forever 21—a California-based retail chain—and you are required to go through a pat-down right before you leave the store.

You'd have to look for a manager, and ask them to escort you to the front of the store, and have them pat you down.

That’s surprising, if only because I’m not sure how you could steal more than $10 worth of stuff without a full garbage bag.

Didn’t seem to help them. They filed for bankruptcy.

> if only because I’m not sure how you could steal more than $10 worth of stuff without a full garbage bag.

People who have an idea how to do it, please don't write it here, as it can lead to worsening of the situation for store workers.

Your regular honest worker is better off, when dishonest coworkers won't steal.

I meant worsening of the situation for workers because of increase in security buffonata as a probable reaction to such revelations.

Wow. The only time I ever had to go through something like that was working for Ferraro/TicTac in Brantford during the summer when I was a student.

We would have our lunch bags randomly searched as we passed through the outer security gate on our way to parking.

Bloody TicTacs.

They would leave snacking items or seconds in the break room for people to eat if there were any—just don’t walk off the lot with a half pack of TicTacs.

But I’ve never experienced so little trust elsewhere.

My brother worked at a Cadbury chocolate factory for a while. They had a "take as much as you want, whenever you want, for personal/immediate family" policy.

That was because they discovered that most people, after a week or two of free-for-all binging never wanted to eat another bar of chocolate in their life, and so the company's costs were near zero.

My grandfather worked for Cadbury/Nelson for years!

While he was still there we got some amazing Easter baskets as kids.

And that's a pretty great assumption. From what I understand they were a great group to work for.

Funny, my mother can't stand chocolate because a relative owned a chocolate shop and spoiled her when she was little.

Thats interesting, I worked at a Forever 21 in the US ten years ago. They policy was that they would "look" (really just glance into) bags, but never actually touch people.

I worked at K-Mart part time during college. On the closing shift they would lock us in the store and not let their employees out until after the managers in the cash cage finished counting. But they wanted us to clock out the second we hit the end of our scheduled shifts. So we would be expected to stay locked on premises for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes unpaid. But they tried all sorts of sketchy things that probably violated labour laws. Changing schedules without notice, scheduling people to close then open with less than 8 hours between shifts. Not publishing the scheduled for the next week until Saturday afternoon.

I used to work in stadium tech and you were searched when leaving the Cowboys stadium more thoroughly than when entering.

If only management were checked as thoroughly to prevent wage theft.

Yes, sadly so. I worked as a vendor to a retail company. Every time I went to their office (which was attached to one of their facilities that held product) I had to undergo a bag check. I never had to do the bag check if I went to an office that wasn’t attached to a location with product in it.

My father worked in retail for over 40 years. 10 for Office Depot, which sells a lot of computers and phone stuff. He has never been subjected to a search, nor searched others.

I once worked at a large industrial plant which had pretty strict rules about what you could bring onto the premise and any kinds of bags could be checked/searched. But they also had a huge locker area at the gate, so it was very easy to leave your stuff there. And also, any checks at the gate were done in a few seconds.

More and more so. I guess because wages have stagnated, and some companies actively keep employees at part-time hours to avoid paying benefits, so theft is more enticing? Dunno, just a guess.

Much shop theft is through employees unfortunately.

I don't think it is 'common'.

Not unheard of either.

Yeah - especially if there are products with a small form factor and high resale[1] value.

Is not paying employees for time they're required to be present also common? Yes. More or less every store I am aware of.

[1. edit, typo, I meant resale here, not retail]

If being searched is a task required by your employer, I don't see how that's any different than time spent doing any other task.

This also seems like a good way to align incentives. If time spent on security is compensated time, then there is a baked-in need to make the process less onerous.

This is how trillion dollar companies earning billions per year treat their employees. Disgusting. Why not tag devices that cannot leave the store using the same tags retailers use to prevent shoplifting?

EAS tags are notoriously simple to bypass for insiders.

i'm sure there are simple enough solutions that can be put in place to prevent theft and reduce theft to a small # of items, something that apple takes into account in their pricing model anyways. Store security cams, etc can also help.

Apple could easily mark serial numbers of store devices and make sure they can't work anywhere outside the range of store wifi.

They would simply disable the tags before leaving, like they do for items that customers have purchased.

Really... Apple makes huge margins, and they can't afford to pay for the time they require their employees to work?

Also, the fact that this is even possible is a very good example why the US needs more unions. It obviously doesn't work with the current model where employees (of any industry) gets screwed over by the corporate overlords. But no, union BAD!! I don't see a better way to bring weight to the table and force employers to do the right thing, they certainly won't do it of their own accord.

Exectly. With Apples great resources comes great responsibility. They have no excuse for not treating their employees with respect.

Good lord. Why fight this? This is the obvious right thing to do. If it amounts to significant impact on costs, then they have failed to run their store’s operations well. Sheesh.


Good. The search is exclusively for the businesses benefit. The employee should be compensated for their time wasted. If they come in at 8 they should get paid from 8 on.

Otherwise it is simply theft from the employee

I really didn’t think Apple would ever get into search.

made me smile

Why would Apple even waste their time arguing this? They're obviously wrong: change the policy and move on

You don't get to be the richest company in the world by paying your workers well.

Google and Microsoft are doing pretty well.

Neither of them are the richest companies in the world.

Exactly who is on top depends on how you define that.

Judging by eg Enterprise Value is a reasonable way.

But also, you need to specify what you mean by 'company': lots of companies are actually made up of lots of partially or fully owned subsidiaries. There's no monolithic Apple or Google.

Lots of the details of that structure depend on responses to tax incentives.

See https://www.forbes.com/sites/alapshah/2018/08/02/apple-hits-... for some attempt.

Instead of looking at total value, you could also look at something like profit per employee or revenue per employee. But that's also not quite so clear cut.

they dont have a ton of low skill store employees

Indeed, agreed. There's lots we can say about why companies do or do not make money, but it's not as simple as:

> You don't get to be the richest company in the world by paying your workers well.

So will they be forced to pay backpay to all the employees Apple stole from up to this point? It's unclear if retroactively enforced means backpay, but it should.

Would it be pay at the hourly contracted rate, or pay to meet minimum wage when the extra hours are considered?

Why would it be anything but the hourly contracted rate agreed in the employment contract? Anything else is a breach of contract just like not being paid at all is a breach of contract (which is also illegal but unenforced).

What should happen is a penalty for the CEO. I'd like to see Cook spend a few weeks in jail, incommunicado because I'm sure this was done at his direction. The government will never do anything to hurt such a company's bottom line in a significant way, however. If a regular person steals fifty cents worth of merchandise from the Apple store all hell will rain down upon him, but if Cook steals millions from his employees, he's a great CEO.

Note this is in California. At the US, level, 5 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Amazon did not have to pay its workers for the time spent waiting for screening.

Excerpt from the NY Times article about that decision:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled unanimously that a temp agency was not required to pay workers at Amazon warehouses for the time they spent waiting to go through a security screening at the end of the day. The workers say the process, meant to prevent theft, can take as long as 25 minutes.

NY Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/business/supreme-court-ru...

Non-paywalled version of above article http://archive.is/Az21a

EDIT: Added excerpt from the article about the US Supreme Court decision.

more context

>…The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case is now pending, asked the California Supreme Court to clarify whether state law requires compensation.

>A federal district court judge ruled in favor of Apple, deciding that workers had to prove they not only were restrained from leaving but that there was no way to avoid having personal items searched.

>Apple said it could prohibit employees from bringing any bags or personal Apple devices into its stores altogether but gave them that benefit. The California Supreme Court said a ban on any personal items would be “draconian.”

> >Apple said it could prohibit employees from bringing any bags or personal Apple devices into its stores altogether but gave them that benefit. The California Supreme Court said a ban on any personal items would be “draconian.”

The article might leave one with the impression that the Court was saying that Apple could not impose such a ban. That doesn't seem to be the case. It's more that they are saying that Apple has not ever done so and it seems far-fetched that Apple would ever do so, and so Apple's claim that not doing so was done as some sort of benefit is not justified.

Here's that paragraph from the Court's decision:

> Apple acknowledges that the exit searches promote its interest in loss prevention, but nevertheless urges this court to view the searches as part of a broader policy that benefits its employees. Apple argues, in this regard, that it could have totally prohibited its employees from bringing any bags or personal Apple devices into its stores altogether, and thus employees who bring such items to work may reasonably be characterized as having chosen to exercise an optional benefit. However, Apple has not imposed such draconian restrictions on its employees’ ability to bring commonplace personal belongings to work. Under the circumstances of this case and the realities of ordinary, 21st century life, we find far-fetched and untenable Apple’s claim that its bag-search policy can be justified as providing a benefit to its employees.5

and here is footnote 5:

> However, it is uncontroverted that Apple may impose reasonable restrictions on the size, shape, or number of bags that its employees may bring to work, and that it may require employees to store their personal belongings in offsite locations, such as lockers or break rooms. We also take no issue with Apple’s policy prohibiting employees from shipping personal packages to its stores.

> Apple said it could prohibit employees from bringing any bags or personal Apple devices into its stores altogether but gave them that benefit.

What if you have asthma and need to keep an inhaler? Or one of the numerous other medical conditions that also necessitate keeping an item on hand.

The ADA obviously requires them to make accommodations.

Yeah, so what I was wondering is, if you have asthma do you get paid for the time you spend waiting to be searched?

They’re going to search your inhaler?

The sad thing is, this could all be solved with Apple providing their employees lockers located outside of the security perimeter.

ugh, one more reason to add to the pile of reasons to not give my money to Amazon.

Or Apple, I guess? It's not like Apple is any better; they're only now going to do the right thing because a judge is telling them to do so.

And probably 9nly in California, too.

This is horrible. They weren’t working. They were just being effectively imprisoned with the threat of losing their jobs.

They shouldn’t be paid for that.


Yes. Yes, they should. The fact that this went to court is outrageous.

Omg, I still can't believe that was in any doubt.

If you are required to be at work, then you should be paid for that time. Just because you aren't "working" does change that the business is requiring you to be there.

If nothing else this should push them to make leaving work not take 20-45 minutes.

WTF. How does anyone think it's acceptable to [funcitonally] detain people.

Apple argues that it's not required because you aren't required to be searched, it's only if an employee freely chooses to use the ~~~privilege~~~ of taking your personal items to work that they are searched. You can always come to work with nothing and not be searched.

I think this argument is BS and it looks like so did the California Supreme Court. Apple argues that this choice is of benefit only to the employees but without it I think they'd have a much harder time keeping employees.

As you say, Apple's argument is ludicrous on its face (as the court pointed out) because Apple also requires employees to wear special clothing at work, and are forbidden from wearing that clothing off-premises. So employees must carry that clothing to work with them. I suppose that doesn't mean that they have to put it in a container, but that's a real stretch of an argument that the court also rejected.

And that really hinges on who is responsible for laundering said uniforms. If the employee is responsible for laundering, it is ridiculous for Apple to expect employees to not bring a personal bag to work.

I love how they call it a privilege. This is indeed a boring dystopia.

Clearly someone thought it was unfair enough to take Apple to court over it.

Workers rights has always been a struggle but this sort of behavior has been trending up over the last 20 years. From the "permatemp" jobs to the new no benefits "gig economy" it's worrying.

I'm and experienced software developer and even I have seen this sort of thing.

I worked for a company out of San Jose. I was hired full-time with benefits and a bonus structure based on performance. But I had to switch to hourly at no pay if I was "on the bench" between projects. Despite a year of solid work, and receiving my performance bonus, true to the agreement when I rolled off a project they stopped paying me. I went 4 months without pay. And when they finally found a new project for me to join I had to take a significant pay cut because the rate for the new client was less.

Passing on risk and consequence to the employee seems to be increasingly common.

> I went 4 months without pay.

Were you still expected to show up anywhere or perform any duties? How was the situation any different to being unemployed?

Traditionally, "on the bench" meant getting paid between engagements.

A similar type of wage abuse in call centers: The wage is $X/hr while on a call or available in the phone queue, and minimum wage at all other times.

Hourly at "No Pay" how exactly does that work.

Presumably now any noncompete(etc) are void as your employer has frustrated they contract

not saying its okay, but this has been standard practice at every retail store job I ever worked (mostly 20+ years ago). You clocked out in the back, and then had to wait to be searched and released in the front of the store. This isn't Apple being weird, this is amazingly common.

As long as you are required to be at work and can’t leave you should get paid. With increasing surveillance some smartasses will soon have the idea that employees shouldn’t get paid during downtime when they are waiting for customers.

Don't give people ideas

It may be common, but it's obviously wrong. It's good that Apple got slapped for this. It would be even better if all other companies that do this got slapped too.

>How does anyone think it's acceptable to [funcitonally] detain people

From the business perspective, provided they can get a way with it, it is just another business decision, namely reducing cost and increasing profit. I would do the same.

Alternatively, you could treat people like people and give them an actual measure of respect instead of stealing time and money from them.

But, frankly, literally every time without exception that I remember seeing you post, it's been a variation on the theme of "of course they shouldn't be decent, why should they, I shouldn't have to be decent either", so I'm going to pass on being surprised.

>Alternatively, you could treat people like people and give them an actual measure of respect instead of stealing time and money from them

Thats depends on what one value, if you think treat people like people is important then yes you should do it but if one value profit then doing what apple did make sense.

Would you be unhappy if someone stole money from your bank account? Because you're condoning theft. It's not clever business practices, it's theft.

>Would you be unhappy if someone stole money from your bank account?

If I'm the one being stolen, of course but not if I'm the one who stole (again provided I will not be in trouble).

Provided they won't get in trouble, how is it not a clever business practice?

> it is just another business decision, namely reducing cost and increasing profit.

And effectively stealing from their employees.

> I would do the same.

You would steal from your employees too?

> You would steal from your employees too?

if the benefit > risk/cost then absolutely.

I hope that I never accidentally work for or do business with one of your companies, then.

Fair enough, I would do it as long as I can still find employee, in other words as long as I can get away with it.

Likewise, for Apple if their action is not costly enough, they will continue doing it.

I mean this guy is basically a good illustration of what we need to keep in mind when we make laws and regulations.

Grinding up babies into a fine powder might be profitable too, just another business decision,provided they can get away with it.

Yes its simply cost/benefit analysis.

So you would do the same?

I would not but I would not surprise if some people do. Thats why there is severe punishment for grinding baby.

This also says they search their personal iPhones. What exactly are they searching for that someone could steal?

Do they just mean checking serial# or something to make sure someone didn't swap their phone for a new phone?

Or are they actually searching/examining the contents of the phone?

Just that is their iPhone and not a brand new one from the store.

That sounds to me like Apple retail employees need to start blatantly using Android phones.

Maybe examining the photos so photos of their internal software aren’t “leaked”

What exactly is meant by having their personal Apple devices searched?

Searching a backpack for stolen hardware seems somewhat reasonable (although it doesn’t reflect well on their hiring standards) but what right does Apple, champion of privacy, have to search through their employees devices?

Note that it says "personal Apple devices", not smartphones or laptops in general. I think what is probably meant is that they check whether someone for example swapped their old iPhone with a new one from the shop's inventory (maybe by checking serial number, etc.).

This is fair enough. You’re still on the clock if you need security to sign you off to leave.

Yeah, this ruling makes sense. They should be on the clock until they are allowed to walk out of the store.

Never had any issues waiting at an apple store. I was thinking to myself while reading this wow people's experience is way more negative than my own. But it makes sense, if you have good but not extraordinary service you are unlikely to leave a comment. Most comments will come from those having poor service.

Good ruling, pay the employees if you make them wait.

I thought this kind of thing was settled law long ago. Good that court agrees.

>The court’s decision is retroactive.

This seems like a pandora's box. If the employees are already off the clock to endure this delay for the searches, how will they be able to show how much time was lost in a way that would be worthy of a payment?

They can ballpark it. Round up if necessary.

>This seems like a pandora's box.

Of what? Damages can rarely be calculated perfectly.

It's not the court's fault Apple falsified timecard data.

I'm sure apple can afford it

I wonder, do these security guards get searched at the end of their shifts?

Seriously?!? When I worked at Apple Retail it took all of 10 seconds for the security search. This was at one of the busiest stores in the nation and during the booming period of the iPhone 3/4.

EDIT: Y'all are completely smokin me with these downvotes. I am not against this decision, I am just surprised that the issue grew to be this severe.

Well then they can pay for 10 seconds of work. If Apple is that efficient then this will cost them nothing and it’s a wonder why they fought it in court in the first place. At that efficiency a 100,000 workers would cost them 250 hrs a day. So Apple went to court to avoid paying $5000/day? They went to court to avoid paying people 5c more per day. Right.

Clearly in many cases the Apple stores aren’t that efficient which is why this has come up in the first place.

>Employees are supposed to find a manager or security officer to do the searches after they clock out. Employees estimate that waiting for and undergoing the searches can take five to 20 minutes, or, on busiest days, up to 45 minutes.

lol, I guess apple shouldn't care too much about paying them for the 10 seconds then.

I'd wager to bet that Apple's inventory is much more diverse and smaller (in physical size) compared to the iphone 3 days. I don't remember Apple having as many SKUs as they do now that are expensive and highly-wanted and very small, e.g. Apple Watch and Airpods.

Apple has always had a metric ton of accessories ... so I would posit their SKU count is actually not that different than before. Technology is also greatly improved -- runner is accessible via an iPhone/iPad and that is also integrated with payments and whatnot. Previously it was a hodge podge of Windows CE devices.

I would imagine store operations are vastly more efficient than they were when I worked there -- so I am more surprised that this got worse rather than better.

Yeah, it's not like Apple stores have changed or become busier in the past 9 years.

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