Yesterday, a judge unsealed records that are part of a 2013 lawsuit that alleges Apple should pay employees for the time it takes to do security bag checks. These checks are done at the end of shifts and were designed to insure that employees were not taking merchandise from the retail outlets.
An email was sent to Cook in 2012 by a store worker, telling him that Apple managers "are required to treat 'valued' employees as criminals." Cook forwarded the email to retail and human resources executives asking "Is this true?" In another email sent to Cook in 2013 by a retail employee in Beijing, the worker said Apple treated it's employees "as animals" and thieves, complaining that an emergency exit at the store was blocked by products.
The 2012 email was sent to Cook with the subject line "Fearless Feedback from Apple Retail Specialist," noting that retail employees should be treated with the same respect Apple shows its customers. The employee complained that "These procedures are often performed in front of gawking customers."
The court filing didn't disclose what responses were sent to Cook. A hearing in this lawsuit is expected on July 2. However, a similar case involving an Amazon.com warehouse contractor came out on the side of employers last December. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that companies do not have to pay employees for the time they spend in bag checks, saying that since the screenings aren't a "principal activity" of the employees' jobs, they are not subject to compensation.
Denise Young Smith, Apple's vice president of human resources, did discuss the bag search policy, saying that "If it is simply a deterrent there has to be a more intelligent and respectful way to approach."