Editorial

Trust your employees

Apple should stop checking employees’ belongings

Apple employees recently lost a suit against Apple Inc. The courts determined employees who work in brick and mortar retail stores are subject to bag checks whenever they clock out.

This means that every time an employee leaves, including for meal breaks, they have to get their bag checked by the manager. Employees have said that this can take up to 15 minutes, and it is unpaid time.

Five employees filed the suit on behalf of 12,000 employees in 2013 that faced the same situation, stating that Apple’s actions violate their right to be paid for any time that is under their employer’s control.

U.S. District Judge, William Alsup, recently ruled in favor of Apple, throwing out the class-action lawsuit and saying that Apple’s bag checks only apply to those employees who choose to bring a bag to work.

We The Threefold Advocate believe that employers should hire people they find trustworthy and then treat their employees with respect. Subjecting employees to bag checks, sometimes in front of customers, openly displays a lack of trust in Apple’s own people. It also shows a lack of respect because they are assuming their employees are up to no good.
One worker, mentioned anonymously in the court filing, said that Apple managers “are required to treat ‘valued’ employees as criminals.”

We The Threefold Advocate also believe that Apple’s policy is unjust because employees, who are off the clock during bag checks, are not being compensated for time that is subject to their employer’s control. One of the plaintiffs said that with waits of 5 to 10 plus minutes, employees are losing almost $1,500 in wages per year, according to CNN Money.

“Rather than prohibiting employees from bringing bags and personal Apple devices into the store altogether, Apple took a milder approach to theft prevention and offered its employees the option to bring bags and personal Apple devices into a store subject to the condition that such items must be searched when they leave the store,” Alsup said.

To say that employees can simply choose not to bring a bag to work is insensitive and unfair to those who need to bring an item to work that does not easily fit in their pocket. One affected group is women on their menstrual cycle who need to carry feminine products. Another affected group is people who need to bring medication to take during work hours.

Alsup noted that no employees filed court papers asserting a special need to bring a bag. However, asking a woman to file court papers asserting that she needs to bring a bag to carry her feminine products is excessive, if not demeaning.

Some people need to carry bags. Many people would be inconvenienced not to. Putting the reason for bringing a bag aside, people need to be paid for their time at work. Apple should let employees clock out after a bag check, not before. Also, Apple should only check bags sporadically. This would demonstrate trust, reduce hassle and respect privacy.

Apple won the law suit. However, We The Threefold believe Apple is loosing its good name among concerned employees, stakeholders, and citizens and must change its policies.