Facepalm: A 2017 announcement made by Apple CEO Tim Cook is back to haunt him for $ 30 million. At the time, the boss said the iPhone had become so “integrated and integral” in people’s lives that they couldn’t leave the house without it. The comment was made right in the middle of a lawsuit, which was appealed by the plaintiff, where Apple’s legal team argued that the company should not be required to pay employees off hours during routine searches because they could have left their iPhones at home.
Apple last Friday proposed The plaintiffs are seeking $ 29.9 million to settle a class action lawsuit originally filed in 2013. The lawsuit was over, and Apple forced employees to search their bags and iPhones outside of business hours. In the opinion of the California Supreme Court, this practice is contrary to state labor laws.
In 2015, the Ninth Circuit dismissed the claim, noting that the US Supreme Court had dismissed a similar claim against Amazon by warehouse workers. If the decision had gone the other way, it was estimated that Apple would have lost about $ 60 million. This figure covers over 12,000 former and current employees who lost time between 2009 and 2013.
The plaintiffs appealed the lower court’s decision to the California Supreme Court. In February 2020 found that because employees were still under the control of their employer at the time of the search, California labor laws required Apple to pay them compensation.
“[Apple workers] are clearly under Apple’s control while waiting and during exit searches, “Chief Justice Tanya Cantil-Sakaue wrote. a process that can take five to 20 minutes, and forcing them to perform certain movements and actions during the search.”
Apple’s primary defense was that security policies were in place to prevent the theft of company property and trade secrets. He also argued that workers could leave their belongings at home. The plaintiffs were aware of Apple’s security policies and made a conscious choice to bring their bags and iPhones to work with them, knowing that they would be searched whenever they left the site.
The unanimous decision of the court said that Apple’s position on the use of personal belongings, especially the iPhone, did not match its publicly stated views on the iPhone.
“The irony and inconsistency of Apple’s arguments should be noted,” the ruling says. “His characterization of the iPhone as unnecessary for his own employees directly contradicts his description of the iPhone as an ‘integrated and integral’ part of everyone else’s life.”
This final piece is a blow to what Tim Cook said in 2017. interview with CNBC.
“I think the iPhone is the best consumer product ever. That’s how I feel about him. And it has become so integrated and intrinsic to our lives that you wouldn’t even think of leaving home without it, ”said the Apple CEO, apparently oblivious to his main legal team argument in the ongoing litigation.
The $ 30 million settlement still needs to be approved by the plaintiffs. If they agree, for some applicants the maximum payout will be around $ 1,300. Payouts are based on hours worked between 2009 and 2013, with an average payout expected to be around $ 800.
“This is an important, irrevocable settlement, achieved after nearly eight years of tough litigation,” plaintiff’s attorney Li Shalov said in the proposed settlement.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers strongly recommend agreeing to an amicable agreement.