Wal-Mart Settles Wage Lawsuit Involving 100,000 Minnesota Workers

Wal-Mart Stores and lawyers for about 100,000 former and current employees at Walt-Marts and Sam's Clubs in Minnesota have settled a class-action case, Braun, et al. v. Wal-Mart, Inc., et al., that alleged the company willfully allowed employees to work off the clock and illegally reduced break time. The joint statement issued by both parties today says the settlement could require Wal-Mart to pay as much as $54.25 million, "including a substantial payment to the State of Minnesota."

The statement is posted on Wal-Mart Stores' Web site. It says the class in the case includes approximately 100,000 current and former hourly associates who worked at Wal-Mart Stores and Sam's Clubs locations in Minnesota from Sept. 11, 1998, through Nov. 14, 2008. As part of the settlement, Wal-Mart "has agreed to maintain various electronic systems, surveys, and notices that will further compliance with wage and hour policies and Minnesota laws. The settlement is subject to approval by the trial court, and the exact amount paid to class members will depend on the court's approval as well as on the number and amount of claims that are submitted by class members," the statement says.

"We are satisfied with this settlement, gratified that these hourly workers will now be paid after seven years of litigation, and happy that the state of Minnesota will receive the largest wage and hour civil penalty in its history,” said Justin Perl of the Minneapolis law firm Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, co-lead counsel for the class. Wal-Mart spokesperson David Tovar said, "Wal-Mart is pleased that the court in Minnesota ruled in its favor on many claims. Our policies are to pay every associate for every hour worked and to make rest and meal breaks available for associates. Any manager who violates these policies is subject to discipline, up to and including termination. We remain committed to providing good jobs with real career opportunity to the 1.45 million U.S. associates who choose to work for Wal-Mart and serve our customers every day."

A hearing for preliminary approval of the settlement has been scheduled for Jan. 14, 2009.

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