Four Apple retail employees in San Diego filed a California labor lawsuit in 2011 alleging that the company failed to give them required meal and rest breaks, amongst other claims. And now Apple has been ordered to pay $2 million to these employees included in a class of 21,000 California workers.
Apple Violated California Meal and Rest Break Laws
California labor laws are quite generous compared to federal laws. Under California law, employers are required to give hourly employees unpaid 30-minute meal breaks if they work five or more hours a day, and employees are entitled to a second 30-minute meal break if more than 10 hours are worked in a day. For every four hours worked, hourly employees are also entitled to a paid, 10-minute break period.
The class action lawsuit against Apple alleged that the company's employee meal break policy did not comply with California labor law. Hourly workers at Apple were required to work for more than five hours in a day without a meal period. The class of workers were not given additional pay when they missed or worked through their meal breaks, nor did the plaintiffs waive their rights to meal periods or rest breaks.
Apple Violated California's Final Paycheck Law
In California, an employer has a very limited amount of time to get a final paycheck to an employee whether a worker is fired or quits a job. Under California's final paycheck law, a worker who is fired (or laid off) is entitled to a final paycheck right away. And if an employee quits without notice, an employer is required to cut a check within 72 hours. That said, if an employee quits and gives a notice of at least 72 hours, a California employer must give the worker a paycheck on his or her final day of work.
According to the class action suit, Apple violated California's final paycheck law. The suit claimed that Apple retail workers were not paid in a timely manner when terminated from the company. In one instance, an employee who was included in the class was terminated from his job on January 11, 2011 but did not receive his paycheck until nearly a month later.
Apple Employees Restricted from Discussing Working Conditions
The lawsuit also claims that Apple workers were prohibited from discussing working conditions. Because employees were not able to discuss Apple or the company's policies, the tech giant could, "invoke fear into the class members that if they so much as discuss the various labor policies, they run the risk of being fired, sued or disciplined."
Jury members ultimately agreed with the plaintiffs and have awarded the class of employees $2 million.
Apple Meal and Rest Break Class Action Lawsuit: For Further Reading
- Apple to settle $2 million lawsuit for mishandling workers' meal and rest breaks via HRDive.com
- Apple owes $2 million for not giving workers meal breaks via CNN Money
- Apple must pay $2 million for denying workers' meal breaks via Silicon Beat
- California Meal and Rest Break Laws: Common Questions
If you are an hourly employee in California, your employer is responsible for making sure that you do not have to work during your meal and rest breaks. If your employer is violating California meal and rest break laws, rest assured that our Los Angeles employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz are here to fight for your employee rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.