Time Spent By Employees In Exit Searches Is Compensable

Proskauer - California Employment Law
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Proskauer - California Employment Law

Frlekin v. Apple, Inc., 2020 WL 5225699 (9th Cir. 2020)

Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the Ninth Circuit: “Is time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology devices voluntarily brought to work purely for personal convenience by employees compensable as ‘hours worked’ within the meaning of Wage Order 7?” The California Supreme Court answered the question “Yes.” Putative class member employees estimated the searches took between five and 20 minutes regularly, and up to 45 minutes when stores were busy. The Supreme Court determined that time spent during bag or security checks was time that was subject to the employer’s control because: (1) Apple made employees find and flag down a security guard to conduct the search and confined employees to the premises during the search; and (2) although the bag search was not “required” because employees could choose not to bring a bag, the search was required as a practical matter because employees routinely bring personal belongings to work, including (of course) their iPhones. In this follow-on opinion from the Ninth Circuit, the Court reversed the district court’s grant of Apple’s motion for summary judgment and remanded with instructions to: (1) grant the class members’ motion for summary judgment as to the compensability of time spent waiting for and undergoing exit searches; and (2) determine the remedy to be afforded to individual class members.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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