Is it legal for employers to hold you for security bag checks after you clock out? This has been a debate raging since 2009 when a class action against Apple of now-over 12,000 employees formed concerning mandatory bag checks. Initially, the lower courts ruled that Apple did not have to pay their employees for the 5-45 minute wait for a security bag check at every single break and end-of-day departure from the store. However, when the issue was raised with the California Supreme Court, new considerations were brought to light.

As of February 14, 2020, Apple’s bag checks and many other mandatory off-hours procedures were deemed ‘work hours’ and therefore require pay when controlling employee time. This is a big win for non-exempt employees whose time is often abused by employers with little regard for fair compensation or work-life balance. However, many employers have yet to realize or embrace the new policies and are in violation of the latest fair labor legal standards.

Here’s how the story played out and why employers must now pay for security bag checks and other off-hours mandatory activities:


Apple Argues that Bag Checks are “Optional”

Initially, Apple won their defense against the class action by arguing that bringing a bag of personal items into the store was optional for employee convenience. Therefore the mandatory bag checks at every single break and end-of-shift departure was technically voluntary. They even went so far as to argue that the security checks were for the employee’s benefit because bringing a bag into work was a privilege they chose to exercise.

Disregarding the fact that most people need a bag of personal items to enjoy work throughout the day, this argument held up temporarily in the lower courts on the merit that bringing a bag (that must then be checked) was optional and therefore the checks were voluntary.


The Parking Shuttle Defense

Apple also referenced a similar case where employees lost the battle for compensation of off-the-clock work activities. They brought up the case of employees taking a provided shuttle from a distant parking lot to their workplace was not considered “work hours” and therefore would not be paid. However, the key elements of the shuttle were that employees could choose not to use the shuttle and could even save time by being dropped off instead of parking, and that the shuttle was provided primarily for the employee’s benefit, not the employer.


The California Fair Labor Standards vs Apple

However, what Apple didn’t count on was elevation to the California Supreme Court where the case was examined in strict adherence of the FLSA – Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA states that a non-exempt (not on salary) employee must be compensated not only for time when they are working but also time when the employer is in control of an employee’s schedule and activities.

This aspect of the FLSA, for example, is used to enforce pay for on-call shifts where employees cannot make other plans even if they are not called into work. When the birthday party test is applied (could you be at a child’s birthday party when off the clock?), Apple’s security checks fail the standards.

In this case, several factors were examined to determine that Apple was, in fact, in control of employee time to Apple’s primary benefit (not the employees’) during bag check procedures.


Together, these factors caused the Supreme Court to identify that Apple was, in fact, in control of employee time and was therefore obligated to pay for bag checks that had previously taken place after clocking out.


The New Standards for Assessing Mandatory Activity Pay

What’s even better for employee rights as a result of this ruling is that new standards for off-the-clock activities have been put into place.

Now, what is and is not “work hours” must be assessed by how much control employers exercise over employee time and freedom for any number of previously off-the-clock activities. From security checks to mandatory uniform changes, if your employer is forcing work activities without pay, they may be in violation of the new standards.


Receiving Fair Compensation for Off-the-Clock Activities

If and/or your coworkers are being subject to forced activities off the clock, your employer may be in violation of the new fair labor standards dictated by the California Supreme Court. Here at Aiman Smith & Marcy, we are dedicated to helping all California employees receive fair rights and pay in accordance to the most recent labor laws and standards. Contact us today to consult on your situation and find a remedy for unpaid time controlled by your employer.

Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986