Apple might have misclassified as "exempt" under labor laws certain employees, including "network engineers", retail engineers", and many job classifications relating to the maintenance of Apple internal computer systems.
This is an investigation and pending class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. contending that Apple violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws in California.
The class action lawsuit alleges that Apple operates a Global Network and Computing Services Group (“GNCS”) and a Information Systems & Technology Group (“IS&T”). These groups service Apple’s corporate computer systems, retail computer systems and related infrastructure. Within the GNCS and IS&T groups, Apple employs individuals with the common job titles of “Systems Engineers,” “Data Center Systems Engineers,” “WAN Network / Voice Engineers,” “Network Engineers,” “Retail Engineers,” and “Information Systems Analyst,” (collectively GNCS and IS&T Support Staff”) who provide the labor for the installation, configuration, implementation, maintenance, troubleshooting, technical support, and upgrades of Apple’s corporate systems, retail systems and other related computer systems and infrastructure. As a matter of course, technical problems often arise with these systems and infrastructure at all hours of the day and at all hours of the night. When this happens, trouble tickets are generated by end-users in the Apple GNCS and IS&T groups and sent to the GNCS and IS&T Support Staff who diagnose and troubleshoot the technical support issues as the problems arise on a 24/7 basis as instructed by the direction of their supervisors.
The class action lawsuit alleges that GNCS and IS&T Support Staff primary duties consisted of providing the labor for the troubleshooting, installing, configuring and maintaining Apple’s computer software and hardware and providing on-call support to Apple’s GNCS and IS&T groups. This work was performed in Apple’s home offices, data centers, and retail stores, as the need arose by physically installing, physically configuring, and physically replacing and maintaining network equipment and by performing all tasks incident thereto.
The class action lawsuit alleges that the GNCS and IS&T Support Staff did not exercise any independent discretion, judgment, or make any management decisions with respect to matters of significance. To the contrary, the work of the GNCS and IS&T Support Staff was to provide, on a daily basis, network support services to end-users in the Apple system in accordance with the management decisions and business policies established by Apple. In fact, no installation, configuration or replacement of the network equipment was made by GNCS and IS&T Support Staff without first obtaining approval from management.
The class action lawsuit alleges Apple engaged in the following unlawful acts:
1. Apple misclassified GNCS and IS&T Support Staff as "exempt" from labor law provisions requiring Apple to pay overtime for all hours worked over 8 per day or 40 per week;
2. Apple took no steps to analyze the services actually performed and the time actually spent by GNCS and IS&T Support Staff on each task to ensure that the "exempt" classification of GNCS and IS&T Support Staff was, in fact, properly based on the primary job duties;
3. Apple does not have any policies or procedures in place that catalogue, inventory, list, or otherwise compile the actual time worked and labor that is actually performed by the GNCS and IS&T Support Staff; and
4. Apple's classification of these employees as exempt is deceptively and based on job title alone, rather than the nature of the work related tasks performed by the GNCS and IS&T Support Staff.
Name (Stock Symbol)
Apple Inc. (AAPL)
Apple Inc. designs, manufactures and sells consumer electronics including computers, cell phones. It also owns and operates Itunes, the largest website to download and manage music.
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