Lawsuit claims Apple ‘treats employees as criminals’

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Apple is due to appear in court after some of its retail staff took action against the time they were forced to spend undergoing ‘embarrassing’ security checks.

Employees at Apple’s retail stores in the US reportedly complained directly to chief executive Tim Cook that they were embarrassed and demeaned by a policy which allowed the checking of their bags for security purposes.

A court filing that was made public last Wednesday has revealed that the employees’ complaints alleged Apple should compensate employees for the time it took to conduct the searches.

According to Reuters, one worker sent Cook a message in 2012 that claimed Apple managers “are required to treat ‘valued’ employees as criminals”.

The email – which included the subject line “Fearless Feedback from Apple Retail Specialist” – alleged that the policy implies the company distrusts its employees.

“These procedures are often performed in front of gawking customers,” the member of staff claimed, adding that employees should be treated with the same respect that the tech giant extends to its customers.

Upon receiving the message, Cook is reported to have forwarded it to senior HR executives along with the question: “is this true?”

The court filing did not detail the responses that Cook’s query received.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs Amanda Friekin and Dean Pelle alleged that “screenings” are conducted each time a member of the sales team leaves an Apple store – even for meal breaks.

In a similar email sent to Cook and other Apple managers by a retail employee based in Beijing, it was alleged that the company treats employees “as animals” and thieves.

The worker also claimed that an emergency exit in his workplace is blocked by Apple products.


Although Cook’s response to the email was not detailed in the court filing, a discussion on the bag search policy by other executives has been publicised.

“If it is simply a deterrent there has to be a more intelligent and respectful way to approach,” suggested Denise Young Smith, Apple’s vice president of human resources.

A hearing is scheduled for July 2.
  • A on 24/06/2015 1:30:25 p.m.

    Airport staff have to undergo security checks whenever they re-enter a secure area. Are they being treated as criminals every day several times a day, or do they just accept protocol and go along with it for the good of the protocol.

    In terms of Apple's protocol, no it is not a national/ international security issue that may claim lives, but, it is a company protocol that employees need to adhere to. It should be done in paid working time and not cause delays to the employees leaving the workplace. Would it cost them the same amount in shrinkage for the few dishonest employees as it would to pay for the bag checks ????

    End of the day, company protocol, just do it, but do it in a private area where they don't have to feel gawked at!

  • Wesley on 16/06/2015 1:33:22 p.m.

    Looks like they treat employees the same way as their customers - assume they're incapable of thinking for themselves.

  • Sue on 15/06/2015 11:43:44 a.m.

    Animals carry bags? Silly comparison.

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