Make us your home page

Apple faces class-action lawsuit from workers over pay

A judge's ruling this week raises the stakes in a lawsuit against Apple that accuses the tech giant of failing to provide its hourly workers with timely meal and rest breaks without compensating them with an extra hour's pay.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Prager certified the suit as a class action, expanding the plaintiffs to nearly 21,000 current and former hourly retail and corporate Apple employees over a four-year period.

That raises the ante from a small amount for the four named plaintiffs to potentially millions of dollars covering everyone from store workers to secretaries.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., declined to comment.

Jeffrey Hogue, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said, "We don't want to comment at this time. We're just happy they got certified and we believe we will ultimately prevail."

The lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial, covers the period from December 2007 to August 2012. Prager ruled that a class action "is the only feasible method to fairly and efficiently adjudicate these claims," given the high cost of filing a lawsuit compared with a small amount of recovery for each individual.

The plaintiffs provided evidence that Apple's policy gave workers a meal break after the first five hours of working, rather than during that period as required under California labor law, the judge noted, adding they also produced evidence that Apple's scheduling policy before Aug. 1, 2012, made taking meal and rest breaks "extremely difficult."

Employees were not compensated with an extra hour of pay for missed meal periods and breaks as required by California labor law and were also given inaccurate itemized wage statements, according to the suit.

Additionally, employees who quit or were dismissed were not given final paychecks in a timely manner as required by law, the suit alleges.

Apple's rules against discussing working conditions "allow Apple to invoke fear" in workers that "if they so much as discuss the various labor policies, they run the risk of being fired, sued or disciplined," the suit alleges.

Silver Taube, who started a Workers Rights clinic at the Community Law Center, called the ruling "quite an accomplishment'' for the plaintiff's lawyers. "It's very difficult to get class certification these days."

But the violations that Apple is accused of are common, she said. The center recently tallied 1,051 Labor Commission judgments recorded in Santa Clara County Superior Court against companies for similar violations. "So it is pretty widespread. There's also policies that don't conform with the law," she said.

The amounts involved for each worker "may not seem significant to some people, but when you are a low-wage worker and living paycheck to paycheck, it is significant," she said.

Apple faces class-action lawsuit from workers over pay 07/24/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2014 6:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer


    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  2. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity


    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  3. FBI warns of spreading W-2 email theft scheme

    Personal Finance

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms — scams that can put staffers' Social Security numbers and other critical information in the hands of thieves.

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms.
[McClatchy DC/TNS file photo]
  4. Walmart expands grocery delivery service in Florida markets


    TAMPA — Walmart is formally launching its grocery delivery service in Tampa, the company announced Monday, as it expands its delivery test into Orlando and Dallas. Five locations around Tampa are offering delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  5. Marina at Hudson Beach poised to become 24-unit condominium-hotel


    HUDSON — One of the mainstay businesses at Hudson Beach is poised for redevelopment into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.

    The owners of Skeleton Key Marina in Hudson have filed preliminary plans with Pasco County to redevelop the site into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.