Apple store staffers probed like 'criminals', lawsuit claims

End-of-shift shakedowns upset workers, Apple wants less 'shrinkage'


Apple retail store staffers, routinely frisked for stolen goods at the end of a shift or before breaks, complained to Tim Cook of being treated like “criminals”, as part of a written policy that was “demeaning”.

The claim was contained in a 2013 lawsuit filed in California, parts of which the judge unsealed yesterday, that seeks to win compensation for those caught up in after-hours security checks.

The legal document reveals one employee wrote to Cook in 2012 about the shakedown “which treat employees as ‘criminals’ and is ‘embarrassing’, ‘demeaning’, and ‘disturbing’”.

Cook then asked his management team, “is this true”. The response was not detailed in the filing.

Another employee asked the CEO if the search — both of bags and personal technology — was legal, and a third complained the checks “violated her rights as an employee” and ate into her personal time.

The case was initially brought by former Apple store workers Amanda Friekin and Dean Pelle, who were among 12,400 hourly-paid retail staff workers in California.

These employees “spent uncompensated time after meals breaks and the end of shifts having their personal bags and Apple technology checked by Apple managers and store leaders”.

Friekin and Pelle estimate they are owed $1,400 for the 50-90 minutes per week they spent being shaken down.

Checks are in line with the written policy Apple uses to “reduce employee theft at retail stores” in a “phenomenon called shrinkage”, the lawsuit added.

Apple did not respond to calls for comment. ®

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