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Federal Judge Rules Wal-Mart Broke Minimum Wage Laws
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violated minimum wage laws

Summary: A California judge determined Wal-Mart underpaid employees to the tune of $100 million.

As the largest private employer, Wal-Mart’s role in the U.S. economy serves as a model by which other employers compensate their employees, as easy target for all sorts of political pontificating against capitalism in general, and in this regard, as a colossal scapegoat. Their skirmishes in court regarding compensation and employment treatment are endless, and the latest involves their truck drivers, who sued and won on the grounds that they were not paid for all their activities, including inspecting and washing their trucks, and also they did not get paid for lay-overs or for completing paperwork. They were instead paid based on mileage and certain activities.


The judge sitting on the case, U.S. District Judge Susan Illstan, ruled May 28 that activities not compensated separately cannot be part of tasks paid for by the company. Wal-Mart broke minimum wage laws in California, and therefore, upon sentencing, could owe as much as $150 million to the 720 truck drivers represented in the suit.

Butch Wagner, who represented them, said “These guys are owed the money, so the sooner they get paid, the better.”

Wal-Mart, naturally enough, is bristling under the ruling, saying they will fight it to the end, and further stating, in court papers, “Nothing in the Labor Code requires a separate ‘pay code’ for each act that goes into cleaning the house,” on the example that housecleaners are paid by the hour, not by the house. “Does the Labor Code require drivers to be separately paid for putting a key in the ignition or while sitting at a stop light?”

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A jury will determine damages in April. Considering penalties, damages, and interest, the cost could be as much as $150 million. After all, the judge sided with the drivers both on the inspection issue, and also the layover issue.

News Source: Huffington Post


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