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Ex-employees sue Apple

The former employees are seeking unpaid wages, overtime compensation and other penalties.

FILE: Apple Inc senior Vice President Phil Schiller reveals the new iPhone 5 on 12 September, 2012. Picture: Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO - Two former Apple Inc. employees have accused the iPhone maker of subjecting hourly store workers to daily searches while they were off-the-clock.

The screenings or bag searches, which are aimed at discouraging theft, are conducted every time sales reps leave the store, including for meal breaks, the plaintiffs alleged in a lawsuit filed on 25 July in a San Francisco federal court.

Both plaintiffs are seeking unpaid wages, overtime compensation and other penalties related to what they say is a customary practice across Apple's US showrooms. They both reportedly worked for Apple for a number of years.

Lawsuits from within Apple's ranks are rare, in part because the company is known to command loyalty amongst its workers.

However in 2011, a part-time employee at an Apple store in San Francisco sought to form a union to fight for better wages and benefits and to address what he called unfair practices within the company's showrooms.

The plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status on behalf of every current and former Apple hourly employee, said they would often wait in line for roughly five to 10 minutes or more before undergoing each check.

It's unclear whether the policy extends beyond the US.

The company has more than 400 stores around the world.

"This work, done primarily for the employer's benefit, is time which Apple hourly employees should be but are not compensated for," the lawsuit read.

Apple has not responded to requests for comment.

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