Apple Faces Class-Action Lawsuit In California Over Alleged Labor Violations Affecting 20K Employees

While Apple today reported its quarterly earnings, another group seized the moment to push out another bit of Apple-related news. The company is being sued in a class-action suit over a series of alleged violations of the California Labor Code, including the “timely” granting of meal and rest breaks as well as final paychecks. The case potentially affects some 20,000 current and former Apple employees in the state, the plaintiffs say.

The case was originally filed in 2011 by four people who worked across both Apple’s retail and corporate operations. It was only certified as a class action yesterday, widening the pool of plaintiffs considerably.

The full court documents for both the case and the class-action certification are embedded below. Tyler Belong, a lawyer with the firm Hogue & Belong in San Diego, which is representing the plaintiffs, describes the case to us like this:

“The lawsuit was filed by Brandon Felczer and several other retail and corporate Apple employees (the “Plaintiffs”) beginning in December 2011. The Plaintiffs sought to represent themselves and all other similarly situated Apple employees in California who were not provided timely meal breaks, timely rest breaks, and timely final paychecks according to California’s Labor Code and Wage Orders. Just yesterday, after years of litigation, against Apple’s opposition, and after voluminous briefing and lengthy oral argument, the California Superior Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion and certified the case as a class action, appointing Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs’ counsel (Hogue & Belong) as the class representatives and class counsel on behalf of approximately 20,000 Apple employees. In other words, as of yesterday’s ruling, Apple now faces claims of meal period, rest period and final pay violations affecting approximately 20,000 current and former Apple employees.”

Reading through some of the case, the complaints, even among the four named on the documents at the moment, range fairly widely in terms of the accusations. One person cites a five-hour working stint without a break, for example, while another refers to a 72-hour notice period and getting a final paycheck two days after that ended (two days late).

If you read through the documents you will see the total number of employees at 18,000. Belong tells us that this was based on the first estimate given to the plaintiffs’ lawyers by Apple early on in the case, “but the class size continued to grow as the case continued on and time passed due to employee turn over.  It is now over 20,000.”

Apple, the iconic iPhone and Mac maker with a market cap of $571 billion, is no stranger to class action lawsuits. One of the more recent also concerned employment practices, although of a different nature: the company, along with Google, Intel and Adobe, settled a case for $324 million with high-tech workers who were accusing the companies of conspiring to keep salaries down by refraining from poaching from each other.

The lawyers in the case tell us that no financial demand has been made yet in this current case.

We are reaching out to Apple for comment.