Apple Inc. must pay workers at its retail stores for the time they have to wait until someone checks their bags and personal electronic devices, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The ruling means Apple could have to pay millions of dollars to the more than 12,000 retail employees who work in Apple Stores around the state for the time their personal materials are checked prior to leaving after their shifts.
It’s the latest in a series of so-called off-the-clock cases that have gone before California courts. In one high-profile case from 2018, the state Supreme Court sided with Starbucks employees who said they weren’t being paid fairly.
Apple had argued that employees could avoid going through such a bag check if they just didn’t bring any personal bags or electronic devices into work. The Cupertino-based company won at the trial level in U.S. District Court on that argument, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sent the case to state courts because California law was in play.
The company’s retail workers “are clearly under Apple’s control while awaiting, and during, the exit searches,” California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said.