Apple Store Workers Emailed CEO Tim Cook To Complain About Company’s Bag Searching Policy

In newly released documents included in a 2013 lawsuit against Apple, at least two former employees wrote directly to CEO Tim Cook to complain that the company’s policy of searching workers’ bags off the clock as a security measure was insulting and demeaning, and made them feel like “criminals” and “animals.”

A judge recently ordered the employee complaints unsealed as part of the lawsuit alleging that Apple should pay retail workers for the time it takes to conduct bag searches, reports Reuters.

One worker wrote to Cook in April 2012 with the subject line “Fearless Feedback from Apple Retail Specialist,” saying that the bag check policies are “both insulting and demeaning to Apple employees.”

The unnamed worker wrote that Apple managers “are required to treat ‘valued’ employees as criminals” when asking employees to show their iPhones and cards when they leave and have their bags searched — all on their own time.

“These procedures are often performed in front of gawking customers,” the employee wrote, adding that workers deserve to be treated with the same respect that Apple shows customers.

Cook sent that email along to top retail and human resources executives asking: “Is this true?”

The court filing doesn’t document what responses Cook received, and Apple has yet to comment.

Another email sent by a retailer worker in Beijing to Cook and other managers in 2013 said the company treats its employees “as animals” and thieves, adding that an emergency exit in the store is blocked by Apple products. While Cook’s response to that email isn’t included in the court filing, other executives chimed in on complaints about the bag search policy.

“If it is simply a deterrent there has to be a more intelligent and respectful way to approach,” wrote Denise Young Smith, Apple’s vice president of human resources.

In a December U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case involving an Amazon warehouse contractor, the justices issued a unanimous decision that said security checks should not be considered part of the job at a distribution center. Such checks aren’t a “principal activity” of the workers’ jobs under a federal labor law, and such, it is not subject to compensation, the Supremes said.

A hearing in the Apple lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, is scheduled for July 2.

Tim Cook received complaints on Apple’s bag check policy [Reuters]

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