Walmart Loses Labor Suit

Yesterday, a jury of its peers found Walmart guilty of forcing workers to toil through rest breaks and slave extra hours without pay, a violation of Pennsylvania labor law.

“With the two verdicts and more than 50 pending cases, “I think it reinforces that this company’s sweatshop mindset is a serious problem, both legally and morally,” said Chris Kofinis, a spokesman for WakeUpWalMart.com, a union-financed group.”

2 +50 = 52, wow, that’s enough to have more than one pending labor lawsuit in every state.

Wal-Mart Loses Suit” [NYT] (Thanks to AcilletaM!)

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  1. ElizabethD says:

    I was happier not knowing all this crap about Wal-Mart abusing its employees. Now I may actually have to grow a conscience and reconsider my periodic forays into Wally World. No more CDs/DVDs with Wal-Mart exclusive extras? Oh noooooooooes!

  2. Triteon says:

    A settlement and two verdicts…3 down and 50+ to go. I hope they lose them all, and the appeals, even though I realize the employees will receive very little and the attorneys will get the rest.

  3. Musician78 says:

    Perhaps I am just a little ignorant, but how, in this day and age does something like this happen? I mean, if any company for whom I worked ever told me that I don’t get break, or that I have to work extra hours for free, I would refuse, and if they tried to reprimand me in ANY fashion, I would call the department of labor.

    I just simply don’t understand.

  4. synergy says:

    Musician78: When you’re as poor as most if not all of the people who work at Wal-Mart, you don’t want to rock the boat. You don’t want to do anything to cause you to lose work hours or work period, even if it’s at 5.15/hr. You don’t get paid while you’re visiting the lawyer and you’re probably working from before the lawyer’s hours until long after the lawyer’s hours.

  5. Martin says:

    Musician78: What you don’t understand is that those in power, i.e. the Republicans, have been weakening the protections that employees and consumers in general enjoy ever since Bush took office.

    They’ve used several different tactics, including (1) binding mandatory arbitration agreements in employement contexts, (2) weakening consumer/employee protection laws (and the federal regulations that implement them), and (3) creating a general public perception that lawsuits only benefit the lawyers (see Triteon’s comments).

    The public perception campaign has been very successful, even though the perception is totally untrue. In most cases, the consumers do receive substantial amounts of money. However, Wal-mart and other employers keep those quiet by using confidentiality clauses. The public only hears about cases when they support the negative perception that the Republican’s and big business want the public to hear about, and then they broadly publicize the case.

    Anyway, the offshoot of all of this is that employers are now quite comfortable screwing their employees, because the risk and cost of getting caught are lower than the benefits of the illegal activity.

    Because of mandatory arbitration, employers can force the employee into an unfair arbitration process and often avoid liability, even when they actually have broken the law. Even when they are not successful in enforcing arbitration, the pool of jurors is usually sympathetic, having heard all the BS stories about how lawsuits are ruining America…

  6. jebralco says:

    I do work for a Walmart store on the east coast. We were told the other day that if you work on the second shift instead of leaving at 10:30 pm (our store closes at 10pm) we now “have” to stay till 11:30 or till the store is “zoned” (everything picked up and all the returns put away) this does not go for only the sales floor associates but the cashiers as well. Oh yea and if you punch out before you are told by the management (the ones that are left becuase half of them leave before 10:30p) You could be “coached” or fired. They never asked any of us if our availability could be changed. They just changed our schedules without our knowledge. There was one assicate who had punched out (she was scheduled till 10) and one of the managers blocked the door and told her she wasn’t allowed to leave until they said she could. Talk about insane! I’m looking for another job. after more than three years I can’t take the garbage anymore.

  7. karen says:

    No one forces you to work at walmart. There are worst places. Some people would do any thing for a job. Thats the problem with people, they want jobs, but dont want to work, I know, I work with a bunch of lazy slackers, that expect everyone else to do the work. If this is true, why hasnt the place been shut down? People used to have it alot worst, like in the coal mines, and hard labor. People are lazy and complain to much. If you dont like it, quit. There will always be someone in line to take your place.

  8. Musician78 says:

    Isn’t that what the labor board takes care of? Even an anonomous call, I would assume, should change things….. (naive…?[or however it is spelled]).