Tim Cook received multiple complaints on Apple’s bag check policy

“At least two Apple Inc retail store workers complained directly to Chief Executive Tim Cook that the company’s policy of checking retail employees’ bags as a security precaution was embarrassing and demeaning, according to a court filing made public on Wednesday,” Dan Levine reports for Reuters.

“The employee complaints, which a judge ordered unsealed, are part of a 2013 lawsuit alleging Apple should compensate employees for the time it takes to conduct the searches. One worker, whose name was blacked out of the court filing, told Cook in a 2012 message that Apple managers ‘are required to treat ‘valued’ employees as criminals,'” Levine reports. “Cook forwarded it to top retail and human resources executives with the query: ‘Is this true?’ The court filing does not include what responses Cook received.”

“A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last December, in a case involving an Amazon.com Inc warehouse contractor, handed a victory to employers, ruling that companies do not have to pay employees for the time they spend undergoing security checks at the end of their shifts,” Levine reports. “The Supreme Court found that because screening process is not a “principal activity” of the workers’ jobs under a federal labor law it is not subject to compensation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Unfortunately, policies like this do not arise out of the blue. There is a reason why bag checks have to be conducted. Ah, if only we lived in a world where everyone was taught, and learned, right from wrong and lived moral lives.

That said, there must be a way to conduct these bag checks out of view of customers and as quickly as possible. Apple would do well to remember that the vast majority of these bag checks are being conducted on loyal employees who are not thieves.


Judge dismisses Apple Store employee ‘bag check’ lawsuits following Supreme Court ruling – December 31, 2014
Apple Retail Store employee files class action lawsuit over lost wages due to bag searches – October 12, 2013
Apple retail workers file class action suit claiming lost wages over bag searches – July 29, 2013


  1. This whole thing is blown out of proportion. As a former Apple store employee, I can tell you that the bag checks aren’t that big of a time drain. They started in early 2006 at my store after we had several theft incidents. It’s unfortunate that non-thieving employees have to put up with it, but it’s necessary. The employees could help the situation if they didn’t bring so much personal property with them. I used to bring my MacBook to work with me, but I stopped after I got sick of having to wait to be checked.

  2. While I worked at Mervyn’s – anyone remember them? – they reported losses of more than $80 million/year to employee theft. This translates into more than $140 million in sales to cover the loses, but that’s just to reach net zero.

    These things really hurt the viability of companies. It’s easy for employees to steal, typically no one is looking, and they have access to merchandise.

    I do not like the policy of bag checking. How do you curb employee theft? You can’t, without checking if merchandise is leaving the store. Rather have that, then cameras everywhere. I mean do you need to have big brother see you scratch your butt?

  3. It is beyond a coincidence that every social indicator in the U.S. took a nose dive once prayer and the Bible were removed from public schools in 1962. Add in the fact that moral relativism was added and the gray area of no absolute right or wrong became individual standards of vacillation, and it should not surprise anyone that the U.S. finds itself where it is today.

    The top five complaints of teachers from 1940-1962: Talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls and getting out of turn in line.

    The top five complaints of teachers from 1963 onward: Rape, robbery, assault, burglary and arson.

    Secularism is the cancer that is killing America.

      1. And now the Dem/Lib “progressives,” who require moral relativism in order to get through their illogical lives, will come out in force to downvote both of you (and me) for stating and affirming the God’s honest truth.

        1. Your God, not mine. I am OK with your religious fantasy as long as you do not try to shove it down my throat or legislate it. But that is exactly what you want to do and are doing in the states in which the religious right have gained control. The religious right efforts on school boards to gut the science curriculum is a great example. And any time that you are opposed you use that as some kind of weird justification that you are doing the right thing. Incomprehensible idiocy.

          How about you (and I am primarily referring to Fwhatever and Superior Being) keep your religious talk off of this forum and we can all get along a little better?

          By the way, this is a freaking Apple forum! We talk about Macs and iPhones and OS X and iOS and watchOS and stuff like that.

    1. “took a nose dive once prayer and the Bible were removed from public schools in 1962”

      So their christianity was so fragile that the this effect was ENORMOUSLY greater than
      – their upbringing, for years, before ever going to school
      – plus all the family time before and after school hours
      – plus family time on weekends?

      Yeh, right. Try a little logic.

      1. I said: “Secularism is the cancer that is killing America.”

        For example, divorce is now acceptable. Children from broken (yes, BROKEN) homes generally do not get proper upbringing or proper family time.

        Taking into account both divorce and non-marital childbearing, sociologist Paul Amato estimates that if the United States enjoyed the same level of family stability today as it did in 1960, the nation would have 750,000 fewer children repeating grades, 1.2 million fewer school suspensions, approximately 500,000 fewer acts of teenage delinquency, about 600,000 fewer kids receiving therapy, and approximately 70,000 fewer suicide attempts every year.


        Nothing could be more logical.

        1. “Family stability” with people who are not happy together is no answer.

          And “Correlation is not causation” etc. etc. There were other enormously powerful factors going on in 1960.

          E.g., the US was still cruising on the massive post-war boom. The world seemed safe. Things were good for the average person. Maybe that’s why.

          Aaaand, secularized western nations do massively better than the US in health, education, infant mortality, happiness and such indicators.

          Aaaand religiosity, on the world scale is correlated (extremely strongly) with poverty and low education… including in the more religious parts of the US.

          1. I’m also sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the US had just had it’s largest wealth redistribution, and a full time minimum wage job was enough to live on.

            1. Yep, definitely nothing to do with that. Definitely nothing to do with a society where one earner with even a modest job could support a family. It’s got to be because they took our book of fairy stories out of schools.

        2. Just a few problems with religion in schools:

          1. Would you propose forcing christian teaching on those of other faiths.

          2. In christianity – which version? E.g. many fundamentalists regard catholics as not real christians, while the catholic view is that all other christianity is an offshoot of the true faith and lineage. So which version gets forced on those of other christian variants?

          3. If the basis of your morality is reward or punishment from a giant supernatural Casper beyond the universe, you really have no morality at all.

          And ultimately, give it up with this “sky fairy” nonsense. You have a book that says it’s true. So do hundreds of other religions. It’s time to leave the infancy of our species, when lights in the sky and changes in the seasons had to be explained by supernatural forces.

            1. The One True Religion, of course.

              ‘But which religion is that?’, Sean naively asks.

              ‘But how do you know that?’
              Because we have a book. And because we just believe it is.

              ‘Well, all other religions have a book, and believe theirs is.’
              Yes. But they are wrong and we are right.

              ‘But how do you know that?’


        3. It really is a shame you weren’t born in the victorian era, you would be right at home with your antique thinking.

          All your missive is missing is denigration of female voting rights and a rant about the negro’s ruining everything for your gentleman’s society.

          Hail Satan!

        4. Seeing as how I have a teaching credential and a major in Religion, then I could teach in school, right? Might be a good part time gig, but then it would be very temporary as parents would force me (or anyone) out after about one week. Many of the religious fans are very intolerant about teaching anything about religion that is not part of their group of beliefs. So bringing in archeological evidence as part of a Bible studies class would be enough to garner protests.

      2. So, what is your logical answer to the morality problem?
        • Ignore it?
        • teach what?
        • Give a philosophical speech on the merits of no morality?

        There are many identifiable problems with religious morality and abuse – which can be and should be inspected by each generation, but the problems with NO morality and A-morality is pure destruction and lawlessness.

        1. Besides my contention that there is NO supernatural sky fairy… even if there were, morals clearly come from PEOPLE and are codified into both non-religious and religious ways of thinking.

          E.g. PEOPLE dragged religion, kicking and screaming, out of the dark ages, through medieval times and into more humane ways to treat one-another. The morals went INTO religion; they did not COME FROM the religion.

          The burning of adults AND CHILDREN did not stop because religious people said, “Gee willikers! Y’ know what. We now think this is a bad thing.”

          Books used to be published on how to most efficiently extend a victim’s life under RELIGIOUS TORTURES that make modern tortures such as waterboarding look like a Sunday School picnic. That did not stop because religious authorities decided it was immoral.

          People teach people morals. They arise from intelligent discernment and codification of how best to live with one-another.

            1. See above…
              “People teach people morals. They arise from intelligent discernment and codification of how best to live with one-another.”

              They sure as heck didn’t come from some giant ghost. And they sure didn’t come from the bible. (Also see above.)

            2. Also, op, please address my points that:

              – the moral teachings and practice of christianity used to be that the most hideous tortures imaginable were not only okay but were holy.

              – and this changed from OUTSIDE religion, not from inside.

              – and while we’re at it, even if you think the change came from inside religion, how could they possibly have been soooooo wrong about the word of god for soooooo long… and then right? If that happened, that is potentially true AT ANY MOMENT about ANY religious moral teaching. You can’t play, “Oh boy, we sure fucked up back then, but THESE are the correct words of god… the correct moral teachings of god. Really! Honest!”

            3. Secular does NOT (even remotely) equate with “amoral”. Check crime rates in largely secular countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand compared to the very religious southern states. If you think religiosity equals more less crime and less violent crime, you’re going to be very unpleasantly surprised.

              Also – what values do you base your morality on? Who gets to choose which morals are good and which ones are not? Last time I looked, the supposed morals coming from the bible consist of some of the “nice bits”, carefully picked out from a morass of psychopathic violence.

    2. The most immoral people I’ve ever known were religious. Religion=morality is a false statement. Religion promotes the proposition that faith is greater than reason. When you have faith that what you’re doing is OK, then you have a carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want. It takes reason to truly know right from wrong. The decay of morality isn’t because of a lack of religion, it’s due to a lack of reason capability.

  4. In high school I worked at several retail chains, grocery stores, etc. It was common practice for your manager to check your bags when the shift was done and you were leaving. That was 30 years ago and the highest value item anyone could hope to sneak out of these places was a Bon Jovi cassette tape. It seems completely reasonable when working in a place where a $1000 item could easily be taken out in your shirt pocket, that Apple is attempting to manage that risk.

  5. In the mid-1990s, when Apple employees could buy one computer at an extremely hugh discount (maybe 50% as I recall). there was a report of one Apple HQ shipping department manager arrested for stealing and selling a huge number of computers returned from shows. Not sure the case outcome. Blatant example!

  6. How long does it take for an employee to be checked? Or is the issue more that there is a long line and the person in back has to wait it out before they’re checked?

    And there is always the option for them of finding a new job. Nothing is perfect.

    1. Is the clock not running while a person is in line? In no case does an employer have a right to a persons time when they are not paying for it. That’s what the concept of hiring employees is all about. So the answer to your first paragraph is irrelevant to anything.

      People who speak so casually about “Just get a different job” either have some sort of sinecure or have never had a job. There are millions going to work every day who pray they don’t lose the job they have and put up with all sorts of BS from employers to avoid not having a job. Everything from sexual abuse to intrusions into a persons private life to humiliation in the work place. You should seek some real world experience and while your at it get a dose of humility and a couple of pounds of empathy. You’ll be a better person for it.

  7. Don’t want to go through that mess of being searched?…..how about you walk in to your job with nothing but your car keys and wallet. Leave all personal ***t in your vehicle. Never crossed their minds. SMH.

    1. Say the employee, who works a few hours a day at Apple, is also a college student who needs their laptop in classes, right after work. Are they supposed to leave their costly times in a hot car trunk while at work, subjecting them to both the risk of theft and the risk of heat damage?

      The issue is not whether the bag checks are needed. They’re unavoidable. The issue is who pays for the time it takes to conduct them and are they done in a manner respectful of the employees dignity.

      If it only takes seconds, as some are alleging, then Apple shouldn’t mind the expense. If it takes 15 minutes, waiting in a line for other employees to be checked, then Apple is shifting the costs for that time from their expenses to the employees life time, while retaining full control of the process. That is a moral hazard, since Apple loses nothing from an inefficient procedure, while forcing the costs onto the least powerful participant in the process. Sounds like the definition of a bully.

      The dignity aspect appears to be plain old stupidity on Apples part. Here is a line of Apple employees be searched as they try to leave the store. Every customer observing the process can ask two questions. First, if Apple doesn’t trust these people, who have been helping me, should I? Second, if Apple treats their workers like this, how do they really feel about me? Are they going to show me the lame level of disrespect in my interactions with them? Seems very far away from who Apple says they are. Sounds like the actions of an asshole.

      Apple is neither an asshole or a bully, They just need to align this necessary process to stop looking like it. Come on Apple, you’re better than this.

      1. Well said, these corporatists and their one size fits all strategy are clearly lacking in reasoning ability. “Keys and wallet” as if that is all people ever carry.

        Just a few other items requiring a bag outside of your example:

        Female hygiene products
        How about a meal for during break? Not realistic for a retail employee to eat out due to wage, short break times.
        How about a change of clothes for whatever activity they are going to after work, or went to before work?

        and we know there are so many more..

        People here are quick to insult the class of worker, to cede all control of these peoples lives to a corporate entity. It is a reflection of their gilded age mentalities and a broken caste system. Should I be surprised with the large number of neo-cons here, I guess not.

        How about this scenario for the “it takes seconds” crowd:
        1 manager on duty, called to help the difficult/complaining customer right as you are scheduled to leave. You sit and wait 10-15-20 minutes so they can check your bag. Sound like fun? Beyond the moral issue of STEALING your time, what are the implications if it makes you late elsewhere, class, doctors appointment, miss the train, etc?

        The stores have insurance that protects them, tax write-offs too. If they want to prevent theft, make the employment practices more stringent, pay more to attract better employees. Implement inventory controls that remove the opportunities for theft. No good reason to impose on the employees time and to treat them with suspicion and disrespect. Wouldn’t it be easier for the employee to pass merch to an accomplice visiting the store anyway?

    2. Vehicle??

      That’s an awfully big assumption on your part. I’m willing to bet that, like many retail workers, the majority are taking public transit or are getting rides to/from their work, going there before or after classes, etc.

      “Never crossed [your] mind. SMH” indeed…

  8. As it has been mentioned more than once, the issue is easily resolved if employees stop taking things into work that require searching..

    If a female employee brought a handbag that would take a glance to check for keys, personal iPhone, and ID and perhaps some cosmetics, they’d be out the door in seconds,

    Same for Male employees, do they really need to carry some sort of backpack for personal belongings into work? If all they had was wallet and keys and iphone, they’d walk right out the door.. If they somehow really needed to carry a personal Mac, or iPad, use a case that could be checked in seconds..

  9. Another possibility: 2 or 3 fifteen minute shift change options. 30 people getting off at 3 PM?
    10 people leave at 2:45
    10 at 3:00
    10 at 3:15

    Come in accordingly

    Let them chose which they want or by seniority.

    Smaller lines.

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