The judge who granted the lawsuit class action status was U.S. District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco. The case now includes over 12,000 current and former employees.
Notably, employees had complained directly to CEO Tim Cook over the policy which was described as embarrassing and demeaning.
Plaintiffs Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle alleged that "screenings" or bag searches, designed to discourage theft, are conducted every time sales reps leave the store, including for meal breaks. Lawsuits from within Apple's ranks are rare. One worker, whose name was blacked out of a court filing, told Cook in a 2012 message that Apple managers "are required to treat 'valued' employees as criminals."
Upon receiving the complaint, Cook forwarded to HR executives asking, "Is this true?"
Apple argued that the case wasn't suitable for class action status because not all store managers conduced the searches and because they didn't take long. However, employees said that the wait at the end of a shift to have their bag searched could take 10 to 15 minutes. Alsup said those issues could be litigated at trial.