On July 21, 2014, a judge in California granted class-action status to a lawsuit against Apple initially filed by four employees in 2011 alleging that the company failed to provide timely meal and rest breaks. According to the suit, Apple also failed to provide final paychecks on time in accordance with state law. The suit further says that the employees were forced to work up to five hours without a break.
Now that that case has class status, an estimated 20,000 or more workers may be able to seek relief in court for those violations. While an attorney for the class says that the original number of employees affected was closer to 18,000, staff turnover since the case was filed pushed the number higher.
The suit does not seek any specific financial payment at this time. In a related lawsuit regarding employment practices in the tech world, Apple, Google and Intel along with Adobe settled a case for $324 million regarding its hiring polices. The companies were accused of keeping salaries down by not hiring workers from any of the other companies named in the suit.
Employers must take reasonable steps to ensure that workers get breaks, meal periods and paychecks in a timely manner in accordance with state labor and wage laws. Although an employer may have some leeway as to when breaks and lunches are scheduled, an employer is not allowed to force a worker to perform tasks while off the clock for a meal or while on a break provided for by law. An employee who has been denied breaks or denied overtime when he or she is entitled to overtime pay may wish to speak with an employment law attorney.
Source: Tech Crunch, “Apple Faces Class-Action Lawsuit In California Over Alleged Labor Violations Affecting 20K Employees“, Ingrid Lunden, July 22, 2014