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Does Apple Need to Think Different About Its Time and Attendance Policies?

July 31, 2013

Most of you have heard by now about Apple's trouble with some former retail store employees who have filed a class action lawsuit for lost wages. Apple has a retail store policy that requires employees to have their personal bags checked by managers for stolen property before leaving the store for breaks, lunches, and at the end of their shift. Apparently, employees sometimes have to wait for as long as 15 minutes after they've already clocked out for this to happen. The former employees claim a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as well as other state labor laws because they consider this a mandatory job function which they should be compensated for. The lawsuit could potentially affect thousands of employees going back more than 10 years. The central question becomes what constitutes compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Apple employees claim they are clocking out and then "engaged to wait" which should be compensable time.

I don't know what Apple's doing for time and attendance tracking, but it would sure be easy to set up a networked time clock by each entrance and just let employees punch out after the mandatory search has been completed. Or even better, have the manager clock the employee out when the search is done.

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