Apple Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Wages

Apple faces another expansive legal battle after a California court granted a three-year-old lawsuit over labor codes class-action status. The original suit, filed by four hourly employees in 2011, claims the company failed to provide appropriate lunch and rest breaks as required by state law.

On Monday, Judge Ronald S. Prager of the Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego granted the lawsuit class-action status so that nearly 21,000 current and former employees with similar complaints can litigate jointly. "A class action is the only feasible method to fairly and efficiently adjudicate these claims," Prager wrote, according to The New York Times.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The plaintiffs claim Apple violated several California labor and wage laws by forcing employees to work over five straight hours without a meal break, along with failing to provide adequate breaks for longer shifts. They also claim Apple failed to pay employees who left the company in a timely fashion. Brandon Felczer, who filed the original complaint in 2011, along with three others, said Apple took two days longer than expected to issue his final paycheck and that the company paid-out an inadequate amount of waiting time penalties. 

Apple's lack of a formal policy on breaks was the "common thread" for the lawsuit, Tyler J. Belong, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told The Times. In his ruling, Judge Prager noted that nine months after the original lawsuit was filed, Apple adopted a new policy on breaks that complied with California law.

There is no dollar amount attached to the class-action lawsuit.

Additionally, the 2011 lawsuit claimed Apple barred employees from discussing labor conditions with outside sources. The restriction "allowed Apple to 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," according to the filing.

Apple is also embroiled in a separate class-action suit from workers who say they should have been paid for time spent waiting for security personal to check their bags before leaving a store.

See the original complaint for Felczer Vs Apple: