Judge Orders Wal-Mart To Pay $6.5 Million For Violating Labor Laws

The AP reports that in a class-action lawsuit, a Minnesota judge ordered that Wal-Mart pay $6.5 million in compensatory damages for violating state labor laws 2-million times. Violations were incurred when the company reduced break time for employees and “willfully” allowed them to work off the clock. Other infractions include the failure to keep time records and denying employees time for meal breaks. Details, inside…

The article says,

Dakota County Judge Robert King Jr. on Monday ordered Wal-Mart to pay $6.5 million in compensatory damages, but Wal-Mart could end up paying more than $2 billion after a jury in October considers civil penalties and punitive damages.

The judge said Wal-Mart should have known the employees were working off the clock while at computer-based training terminals and “willfully allowed” it to continue. The company also failed to provide employees with rest breaks more than 1.5 million times and shortened employees’ breaks more than 44,000 times, according to the order.

Wal-Mart was also found in violation of statutes relating to making and keeping employee time records and failing to let employees have any time for a meal break. While the plaintiffs won’t receive compensatory damages for those violations, Wal-Mart is subject to a $1,000 civil penalty for each incident.

The ruling, which was given to the parties Monday evening, comes after judgments against Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania and California found similar violations.

In Pennsylvania, workers won a $78.5 million judgment in 2006 for working off the clock and through rest breaks. A $172 million verdict against Wal-Mart in 2005 found the company illegally denied lunch breaks in California. Wal-Mart is appealing those rulings.

May justice be fair and swift.

Minn. judge rules against Wal-Mart on work breaks [AP] (Thanks to Erik!)
(Photo: chasingfun)