A lawsuit has been filed against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for allegedly breaking laws related to minimum wage and overtime. Also named in the suit are the staffing agencies used by the company. The lawsuit said that the company’s temporary employees were required to report early for work, stay late to finish work and work during their lunch and breaks without being paid.
The suit, which has been proposed as a class action case, was filed on Monday in the United States District Court of Illinois Eastern Division. Two staffing agencies that Wal-Mart used in the area of Chicago, QPS and Labor Ready, were named in the suit. In the lawsuit, those agencies are accused of not giving workers assigned to Wal-Mart locations with required information about employment.
Wal-Mart is also accused of not keeping proper records of employee work time in the lawsuit. This had made it difficult for employees to file claims against the company for not being paid for hours worked. According to law in Illinois, when a worker is contracted for a job, he or she must be paid a minimum of four hours if they are not used for those four hours. By being contracted for the work but not used, the workers were not able to look for others jobs.
“I only get paid minimum wage and yet Labor Ready and Wal-Mart still try to cheat me by not paying me for the time I actually work,” said Twanda Burk. Burk is the primary plaintiff on the lawsuit. “I’ve proven that I’m a good worker, and they just want to take advantage of that.”
These violations began back in 2009 and were still continuing when the lawsuit was filed earlier this week, according to a press release from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. The lawsuit is asking for the workers to be paid all of their unpaid wages and for an injunction to be filed against Wal-Mart and its staffing agencies. The injunction would prevent the defendants from violating state labor laws in the future.
A spokesman for Wal-Mart, Dan Fogleman, said, “This litigation is being driven by the same union organizations that have been mischaracterizing several issues about Wal-Mart and are more concerned with creating publicity than with improving workers’ rights. We are committed to ensuring that anyone working in our stores — whether they’re employed by Wal-Mart or in this case, a temporary staffing agency — is treated appropriately and compensated fairly for every hour they work.”