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Workers Must Be Paid for Time Spent in Security Checks

Does California law require California employers to pay their employees for time spent at the worksite waiting for and undergoing exit searches of bags and electronic devices they bring to work for their personal convenience, even if employees may avoid such a search by not bringing a bag or electronic device to work? The California Supreme Court recently ruled that it does.

In a federal lawsuit, Apple retail store employees claimed they were entitled to pay for time spent waiting for and undergoing searches of their bags and Apple devices any time employees left the worksite.

Before leaving the worksite, Apple retail store employees were required to find a manager or member of security to conduct a search of their bags and Apple technology devices. Employees were required to unzip bag compartments and remove any questionable device so that it could be checked. The searches generally lasted between five and 20 minutes. Employees who failed to follow the policy were subject to discipline.

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The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to decide whether employee time waiting for and completing the security checks counted as “hours worked” for which they were entitled to be paid under California law.

The applicable wage order defines “hours worked” as “the time during which the 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.” Twenty years ago, the California Supreme Court ruled employees are entitled to compensation for time they are subject to the control of an employer, regardless of whether work is performed during that time.

The California Supreme Court held that the Apple retail workers were subject to the company’s control during the exit searches under this standard and therefore entitled to pay… Security InfoWatch

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