Apple faces in a state court in California a class action suit that its employees were not provided timely meal breaks, rest breaks and final paychecks, according to the lawyer for the employees.
The Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego certified the case as a class action in a suit filed by Apple's retail and corporate employees, said Tyler J. Belong, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, on Tuesday.
Judge Ronald S. Prager appointed the plaintiffs and their counsel Hogue & Belong as class representatives and counsel on behalf of close to 21,000 employees.
Apple now faces claims of meal period, rest period and final pay violations affecting the current and former Apple employees, as a result of the ruling, Belong wrote in an email explaining the court decision.
The violations are said to have happened between December 2007 to August 2012. Apple changed its meal and rest period policy in August 2012, about eight months after the suit was filed, Judge Prager wrote in his order on Monday.
The judge said that a class action was the only feasible method to "fairly and efficiently adjudicate" the claims in a case where the costs of litigating are high for the individual while potential recovery per individual is low.
Rather than having over 20,995 lawsuits or hearings before the Labor Commissioner on the same claims alleged in the action, a class action would allow all individual actions to be resolved once on behalf of all claimants, he added.
The complaint under the California Labor Code was filed in December 2011 by Brandon Felczer and others on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, who sustained injuries or damages as a result of Apple's alleged violation of the wage and hour laws in California.
Apple was not immediately available for comment. It reported quarterly earnings earlier on Tuesday.