Apple France Fined for Store Work Rule Violations

March 13, 2013

In response to complaints by Apple retail store employees in France, a government labor agency fined the company yesterday for making its employees work past the 9 p.m. store closing hour, and warned the company that it faces stiffer penalties for future violations. The ruling means store employees will leave work almost immediately, instead of continuing to work—sometimes until 11 p.m., according to employee complaints—to put the store in order or to complete Genius Bar tasks. Apple had argued before Le Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris that post-9 p.m. work wasn’t routine, and denied any violation of work rules. The situation may seem unusual to retail workers in the United States, who often work past closing time for various reasons, and who earn overtime for any work past 40 hours in a work week. However, many countries have work rules that prohibit overnight work except under extraordinary circumstances, or operating retail stores on Sundays. In this case, French law restricts work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. only for business operations, “to ensure continuity of economic activity or social utility.”In its ruling against Apple, the Tribunal said that Apple store employees cannot work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day. It levied a $13,000 judgement against the company for past violations, to be paid to the involved labor syndicates (unions). The agency warned that future violations would bring fines of $65,100 per infringement. The trade unions had proposed a fine of nearly $400,000.

Seven of Apple’s 15 stores are affected by the judgment, all within the jurisdiction of the Paris labor agency: Opéra, Parly 2, Carré Sénart, Val d’Europe, CAP 3000, Atlantis and Velizy 2. The latter store stays open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The overnight work restriction has been in effect for decades, but hasn’t been an issue until the last few years, when international retailers have opened more stores with longer hours to cater to more shoppers. The Tribunal has several other work rule hearings scheduled involving other retailers, including Sephora and Abercrombie & Fitch. Next month an Opéra employee’s complaint on night hours will be heard by the Tribunal.

This is a copy of the Tribunal’s decision on the issue of Apple store employees working past store hours.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ex-Apple March 13, 2013 at 1126

So that means floor sets, and launch prep, all are done during open store hours? I can see making businesses pay a premium (double time, maybe) for late hours, but prohibitions will make store maintenance, restocking, and visual changes insanely difficult. What’s wrong with a voluntary program at double pay? I am sure some employees in France would be willing to make a lot more money, while those who want to get home to their families can do so. Their Union blew it on this one.

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@OneNYCStagehand March 14, 2013 at 0743

When you say union, think EU. As it says in the article, many countries forbid OT as a human right. 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours for what you will.

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Throwthatham March 15, 2013 at 1825

Where do the rest of us sign up?

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BEE BEE March 31, 2013 at 2152

As a former apple retail employee for eight years who left under my own need to stop the insanity my store stretched ever law on the books. Apple does not care about quality of life for any of its hard working dedicated employees. Just like any retail job and in this case Apple takes advantage of the favorable advantages that employers have because of the economy. Then you throw in the fact that its cool to work at Apple and its a dangerous mix that all retail employees face after the romance wears off.

Apple is learning that it can’t get away with that everywhere in the world. People should be respected and at the minimum paid more for working late hours. Anything after 6 in the USA should be double time for any large business. Small business excluded or ones that bring in less than a few million dollars. Everyone else should pay up and this would mostly stop except for Wall Mart and other massive 24 hour store.

Our country cannot be full of low paired 24 hour a day retail employees who have no money and no quality time with family. It just won’t work… there will be no one left except for the very few who have extra income to spend on other things.

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