Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, has agreed to pay $40 million to as many as 87,500 current and former employees in Massachusetts, the largest wage-and-hour class-action settlement in the state’s history. The class-action lawsuit, filed in 2001, accused the retailer of denying workers rest and meal breaks, refusing to pay overtime, and manipulating time cards to lower employees’ pay. Under terms of the settlement any person who worked for Wal-Mart between August 1995 and the settlement date will receive a payment of between $400 and $2,500, depending on the number of years worked. The average worker will receive $734.
The Massachusetts case is similar to many others that have been brought against Wal-Mart by employees across the country, most alleging that the Bentonville, Ark.-based company violated laws by requiring employees to work through breaks, to work beyond their regular shifts, and similar practices. While Wal-Mart has denied the allegations, the company agreed in December to pay up to $640 million to settle 63 federal and state class-action wage-and-hour lawsuits. The Massachusetts case, which was not part of that settlement, was initially filed eight years ago on behalf of 67,000 people who worked for Wal-Mart in Massachusetts between 1995 and 2005.
The two Plaintiffs, Elaine Polion and Crystal Salvas, left their employment at Wal-Mart years ago. The case has been moving back and forth for years, first being certified as a class action, being almost thrown out as a trial date approached in 2006, and then being revived on appeal and sent back to trial as a class action by the state Supreme Judicial Court two years ago. Philip Gordon of Boston’s Gordon Law Group handled this case and did a very good job.
Source: Boston Globe
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