Employees Must be Paid for Exit Searches
March 6, 2020 by Sarah KanbarThe California Supreme Court has issued another favorable ruling for workers, holding that employers are required to compensate employees for mandatory exit searches done off-the-clock.
In Frlekin v. Apple, Inc. (Feb. 13, 2020) the Court answered the following question: “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?” Any “hours worked” must be compensated.
Apple maintains an exit search policy that requires supervisors to search store employees’ bags, packages, backpacks, purses, and even check employees’ personal Apple products, by verifying the serial number. These mandatory searches take between five to 20 minutes and are unpaid.
Under California’s Wage Orders “hours worked” is defined as “the time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.” The Court found that the time Apple store employees spent waiting for and undergoing the exit searches was compensable as “hours worked.”
The Court explained that the exit searches were subject to the employer’s control because the searches were mandatory, employees are required to stay on Apple’s premises until the exit search is completed, and Apple required employees to perform specific tasks like locating a security or security guard to complete the exit search. Since the employees were under Apple’s control during the exit searches, Apple was obligated to pay the employees for the time spent waiting for and undergoing a search.
This ruling will greatly help employees who may be subject to mandatory search policies by ensuring compensation for the time an employee is subject to the employer’s control.
Read the decision here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S243805.PDF
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