By: Philip A. Toomey, Esq.
Continuing to expose all California employers to class action wage and hour claims, in a wage and hour class action lawsuit brought by employees working in Apple retail stores, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled Apple was obligated to pay for all time awaiting, and then undergoing, mandatory anti-theft exit searches (Friekin v. Apple, Inc. (9th Cir., No. 15-17382)). The court determined that under California law, such time amounted to “hours worked” even if employees could arguably avoid exit searches by not bringing personal bags and devices with them into the workplace.
Apple had originally won at the trial court level. While the appeal was pending, the 9th Circuit requested the California Supreme Court for an interpretation of “hours worked” under the California Labor Code. After the Supreme Court weighed in, the 9th Circuit followed its previous 2019 rulings in Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Services (9th Cir. No. 17-16866) and Chavez v. Converse, Inc. (9th. Cir No. 17070). Friekin, Rodriguez and Chavez are also consistent with the California Supreme Court’s advisory opinion in Troster v. Starbucks Corp. (9th Cir., No. 14-55530), where the court determined California wage and hour law does not provide a de minimus exception, and that with technical advancements it should be easy to capture, and pay for, all time an employee is under the employer’s control.
Employers in California who require employees to perform any services, or undergo any checks, after they have clocked out should carefully review their policies. Friekin, Rodriguez, Chavez and Troster spell the end to California employers requiring employees to do even the most minimal tasks after clocking out, or having a compensation system other than “punch to punch.”
Should you have any questions regarding this decision, please contact our Leech Tishman attorneys in the Employment & Labor Practice Group.
Philip A. Toomey is a Partner at Leech Tishman and Chair of the firm’s national Employment & Labor and Immigration Practice Groups. He is based in Leech Tishman’s LAX office and can be reached at (424) 738-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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