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Judge Does Not Accept Apple’s Argument in Employee Security Screening Case

In an order written by U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Friday, the judge does not accept the argument from Apple that employees choose to submit to security screenings and cannot demand wages for time waiting in line, according to The Recorder.

“The summary judgment record is at best ambiguous about whether the security screenings were mandatory for at least some locations and circumstances,” Alsup wrote. The order denies Apple’s request for a summary judgment.

Alsup also issued a stay the case in the Northern District pending the ruling in Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk by the Supreme Court. This is a similar case where employees were not paid for their time spent waiting to walk through metal detectors.

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Lee Shalov, a partner at McLaughlin & Stern, argued that the bag checks at Apple are mandatory and benefit the company. Shalov said that this entitles the employees to compensation based on the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Julie Dunne, the lawyer for Apple, argued that the security checks are optional. Employees are only screened if they come to work with a bag or a personal Apple product.

“Apple employees may need to bring a bag to work for reasons they cannot control, such as the need for medication, feminine hygiene products, or disability accommodations,” Alsup wrote.

“The record in this action … involves many varying fact patterns and lends itself to a myriad of different interpretations of Apple’s policy and practice regarding when an employee is required to undergo a security screening,” he wrote. “To be of more assistance to our court of appeals, it would be better to hold a trial (or at least produce a more comprehensive record) and then decide the fact issues.” The trial could be postponed until the spring of 2015. This is when the Supreme Court could rule in the case involving Integrity Staffing.

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