Business

Apple’s newest legal trouble: A class-action lawsuit over meal breaks

A California judge has granted class action status to an employment-law case against Apple, giving the tech giant just one more thing to worry about.

The Hon. Ronald Prager of the San Diego Superior Court yesterday ruled in favor of onetime Apple employees’ request for class action in their lawsuit against the company. That means lawyers are no longer representing four people but actually 20,000 or 21,000 — current and former non-exempt (read: hourly) Apple workers in California. The case says Apple intentionally violated state wage and hour law and didn’t compensate employees for missed breaks, among other charges.

Now Apple has seven attorneys handling the suit, attorney Tyler Belong of Hogue & Belong said today in an interview with VentureBeat.

“I think they’re taking it very seriously,” Belong said.

Apple did not immediately respond to VentureBeat’s request for comment.

The case is the latest legal headache for the 38-year-old seller of laptops, desktops, mobile devices, and software.

Apple has recently settled lawsuits involving iPhone warranties, employee poaching, and e-book price fixing.

A settlement could come in this case, too. Belong and his team, who have previously taken on Morgan Stanley and Scripps, want a trial.

The case got its start three years ago, Belong said, when his firm received a call from a couple of their clients, “basically saying, ‘I’m not getting my meal periods till very late in the day. Is that legal?'”

Now the case looks more serious.

Read the lawyers’ most recent complaint here. And find the judge’s ruling here.

More information:

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

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