back to article Apple ordered to cough up $2m to store workers after denying rest breaks

A California court has ruled in favor of Apple Store workers who accused the iPhone giant of trampling over their employment rights. It is a bittersweet victory. The trial jury yesterday awarded store staff $2m after Apple was found to have illegally denied them meal and rest breaks, and was late giving departing workers their …

  1. redpawn Silver badge

    Do no Evil!

    No wait, that's not Apple's motto. Never mind...

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Big Brother

      Re: Do no Evil!

      You're going to the toilet wrong.

      That's this lot.

  2. gnasher729 Silver badge

    If the court has made a decision, you could have posted a link to the actual judgment, not just to the accusations, which obviously will be just a slightly bit biased (or to Apple's defense, which is also likely to be just a slightly bit biased).

  3. DNTP

    Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

    …responsible for the conduct of management at a couple of its franchise stores?

    Heck yeah.

    99% of the time, when you have a situation where a small-time manager is being encouraged or permitted to break employment law, the rot goes all the way to the top. If a top accountant stole $2m from the company he'd be in prison, but the diffusion of responsibility that broke the law and cost that same company $2m in settlements is just hand-waved away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

      Last time I checked apple does not do franchises .

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

        Last time I checked apple does not do franchises .
        Oh yes they do. In Hobart, Tasmania at least. And for many years a monopoly franchise what's more.

        1. kain preacher Silver badge

          Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

          This case is in California USA were they do not do franchise. If it was franchise they can not sue as apple is not the Employer .

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

            This case is in California USA were they do not do franchise.
            These many long years ago, Jerry Pournelle of Byte fame (Chaos Manor*) had an Apple computer that generated an error message. On contacting Apple, he was told he had to go to the supplier of the computer for assistance. When he told the fruity firm's representative: "That's you", he was told he could only get support from an Apple franchisee. (The nearest was several hours drive away IIRC). Things must have changed in the intervening decades.

            * Chaos Manor is in Studio City and last time I checked that's still in Los Angeles, California.

            1. boltar Silver badge

              Byte

              "These many long years ago, Jerry Pournelle of Byte fame (Chaos Manor*)"

              I remember Byte fondly. Probably THE best English language general computer magazine in the world IMO and it had a large circulation for such a magazine but even so , it was bought out then shut down by some myopic fools in the late 90s who claimed printed computer mags were old hat and online was the way forward. Odd then how in 2016 I can still go into a newsagents and see shelves groaning with computer mags. It did go online but it was a pretty poor fascimile of the printed copy and that eventually closed down too.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Byte

                "it was bought out then shut down by some myopic fools in the late 90s who claimed printed computer mags were old hat and online was the way forward"

                By that time it had long been a shadow of its former self. Originally it was largely written by people who were developing the stuff or pioneering new uses. I remember one article written by Woz.

                Eventually it became more or less straight journalistic rehashes of handouts, "discussions" produced by copying and pasting extracts from a series of separate interviews with/statements by the "participants" and such like. It had lost its authentic voice.

                1. boltar Silver badge

                  Re: Byte

                  "Eventually it became more or less straight journalistic rehashes of handouts, "discussions" produced by copying and pasting extracts from a series of separate interviews with/statements by the "participants" and such like. It had lost its authentic voice."

                  I disagree. Sure, there were the sales pitches masquerading is articles, but it was still leagues better than anything else on the shelves. These days its all partisan crap - the mags are just MS, Apple or Linux fanboys in paper form. For those of us who want grown up computer & programming related articles there's bugger all offline (and frankly the online stuff ain't great). Even Dr Dobbs has closed down.

            2. AndrueC Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

              Jerry Pournelle of Byte fame

              Jerry Pournelle is also a science-fction writer of some fame.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

                Jerry Pournelle is also a science-fction writer of some fame.
                The Mote in God's Eye is my favourite novel of his.

                1. AndrueC Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

                  The Mote in God's Eye is my favourite novel of his

                  I think it'd have to be The Legacy of Heorot for me although I also have fond memories of Lucifer's Hammer. Death and destruction on a global scale with the bonus of a tribe of cannibals - what's not to like about that?

                  :)

            3. MOV r0,r0

              Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

              There might be a reason why Apple franchisees are few and far between, Jerry Pournelle in 2003:

              'Back in the early days of Macs we bought 3 of them; each from a different local store; in each case the store was out of business when we wanted another. Apple had a habit of devouring its own children, and any dealer who sold a lot of Macs was in peril of having the company move in and take over its customers, leaving it dead.'

              http://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2view/view277.html

            4. kain preacher Silver badge

              Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

              "These many long years ago" Yes it was long years ago and you must of missed when apple got rid of it's dealers and franchises when it open up the apple stores in the US. Last time I checked LA was still part of the US.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: Should the courts hold an entire huge company...

                you must of missed when apple got rid of it's dealers and franchises when it open up the apple stores in the US.
                Indeed, I must "of". For some reason events in LALALand have little relevance to those of us Living the Good Life in southern Tasmania.

  4. cd

    Do any work for them and their name becomes Asshole Computer. I did, and watched them break their own rules while being minatory about any contractor's slightest infractions. No different than any other big corp, just that this one also has a cult following so it seems worse.

  5. dalethorn

    Apple is far worse than a few nagging complaints listed here. When I went to the store complaining about the forced iOS updates occurring almost daily on my iPad and iPhone, about 1/2 gb each (I delete them, after they're download by Apple silently), I was abused by the Genius Bar guy, so I complained to the manager. The store manager looked at my situation where I have every possible update turned off, he looked at my documented experience, and he not only corrected the Genius guy, he printed me a session log that said I was right.

    Onto the corporation: I called Apple Support, and I got a supervisor who was even more abusive. She said "We don't force downloads, period." - I said that I have the proof, and a session log from the store manager confirming it. She repeated herself, and so did I. At that point she raised her voice and said "You're wrong, and if you keep insisting otherwise, I will hang up." And hang up she did. Just before hanging up I asked for her boss, and she said "I'm the boss - there's no one above me - goodbye."

    So not only are the corporate people abusive, they are disconnected from reality, at least as far as their responsibilities are concerned. In January 1984 Apple aired the conformity '1984' Orwell-inspired commercial for the new Mac, and then they proceeded to become the jackbooted company themselves.

    1. MOV r0,r0

      That would be the ad for the Mac 128 which despite a high price had insufficient RAM that couldn't be upgraded and for serious application development required the additional purchase of an Apple Lisa - one of the slowest, least productive dev machines ever.

      So, over priced + under spec with no upgrade + lock-in - seeing a pattern here? Apple didn't change, they've always been like that.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        WTF?

        While I might agree with you about the overpriced bit, you obviously never did any dev work on a 128k Mac. sure the screen was small and object pascal interesting (but by no means terrible) but then there was not so much eye candy to watch out for. We did a lot of work with them (dates me a lot) and never asked for a Lisa - noone ever told us it was necessary

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Devil

    So let's see what Apple and any corporation watching has learned... it's cheaper not give paid rest breaks, etc. and pay the fine. I think I got that right. Filed away in case I ever get to be CEO of a big company.

  7. Suburban Inmate

    So, given the really utterly piss-taking forced obsolescence of their latest offerings, added on top of their control-freakery and questionable business ethics (suicide nets, anyone?) I have to ask: Apple products - Why?

    I used to tell clients that asked that they were very well made and the software/app environment very polished, plus the support is there. But charging £silly for a repair that could be done for £silly/4, while doing everything it can to deny third party repairs, on devices that are designed to develop faults... Nope.

  8. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
  9. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Ah the wonderful world of big corporates and lawyery types...

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      'Wonderful' in the vomit-inducing sense.

      Never mind, comrades! Apple will be first* up against the wall when the revolution comes.

      * I've made a calendar note to this effect on my iPad.

  10. DougS Silver badge

    More than $95 an employee

    This was over violations in the state of California's labor laws, which are more generous than federal labor laws. If they were denying breaks entirely it would have been a federal case, they just weren't giving them enough breaks at the right times as required by more stringent California law.

    Since it was a state suit, only Apple Store employees in California would be eligible to collect. I don't know how many there are, but there aren't 20,000 so they'd end up with more than $95 each on average. At least until their class action attorneys take a 1/3 share...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: More than $95 an employee

      And that's America where you have to pay tax on it as well.

      $95 - $33 (lawyers fees) - $20 (tax, state and federal) = $42

      Then factor in inflation...

      Hardly worth it really. The price of a few Christmas Coffee's in Starbucks.

      Still a precident has been set in CA at least.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: More than $95 an employee

        Or they could file with the labor board which is free,

  11. Adam Jarvis

    There's an {potential} Apple Watch App for that!

    Maybe Tim Cook could build the breaks into an Apple Watch App. Apple Watch might then have an actual real world use for Apple Employees + others.

    Oh right, not what Apple is about or an area Apple want to get into. Employee Well Being, that is.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    " It was later expanded to a class of more than 21,000 current and former workers who held jobs at the Apple Store as far back as 2007".

    21 THOUSAND workers at ONE store in the last 9 years?????????????

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: This:

      21 THOUSAND workers at ONE store in the last 9 years?????????????
      Those long queues outside the store for product launches had to come from somewhere ;-)

  13. 2Fat2Bald

    Something of a pyric victory, perhaps?

    They're won on a point of law, but I'm guessing that Apple extracted more than 95 Dollars of worth out of them by these business practices.

  14. James Loughner

    Simple

    It is simple they were just applying the same rules to the American store people that they do for the Chinese works who make their bling. See consistent employee rules

  15. mediabeing

    I will celebrate upon Apple's bankruptcy. Apple has been a snooty, shitty, over-priced company.

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