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CNN.COM: Jury awards millions to Wal-Mart workers


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Jury awards millions to Wal-Mart workers

California workers claimed they were denied lunch breaks

Thursday, December 22, 2005; Posted: 6:08 p.m. EST (23:08 GMT)

OAKLAND, California (AP) -- A California jury on Thursday awarded $172 million to thousands of employees at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. who claimed they were illegally denied lunch breaks.

The world's largest retailer was ordered to pay $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages to about 116,000 current and former California employees for violating a 2001 state law that requires employers to give 30-minute, unpaid lunch breaks to employees who work at least six hours.

The damages were originally tallied as $207 million after a court clerk misread the punitive damages as $150 million. The amount of punitive damages was later clarified.

The class-action lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court is one of about 40 nationwide alleging workplace violations by Wal-Mart, and the first to go to trial. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, which earned $10 billion last year, settled a similar lawsuit in Colorado for $50 million.

In the California suit, Wal-Mart had claimed that workers did not demand penalty wages on a timely basis. Under the law, the company must pay workers a full hour's wages for every missed lunch.

The company also said it paid some employees their penalty pay and, in 2003, most workers agreed to waive their meal periods as the law allows.

The lawsuit covers former and current employees in California from 2001 to 2005. The workers claimed they were owed more than $66 million plus interest, and sought damages to punish the company for alleged wrongdoing.

The lawsuit was filed by several former Wal-Mart employees in the San Francisco Bay area in 2001. It took four years of legal wrangling to get to trial.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



Its amazing what this company does to make a profit, its all gonna come back to bite them in the ass, I hope the workers somehow someway form a union in that company....if any company needs a union its Wal-Mart.


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And I would be willing to bet the appeals court will lower that amount

It's less than $1500 per plaintiff ... after lawyer fees and administration costs it will be well under $1000 ... it's really not even that much to begin with.

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Well, this is the first in a series of lawsuits against worker exploitation by Walmart.

Walmart is a MAJOR problem with our country. For everyone that doesn't want government health care, they are subsidizing health care for Walmart employees. It is part of ther SOP that they give their employees the directions to file for welfare and health care. We, as a nation, are subsidizing BILLIONS of dollars to their business, while they screw over a hundred thousand American workers.

I hope the whole Walmart clan rots in hell. Sam Walmart must be rolling over in his grave to see what the kids did with his employees, and how they are completely screwing our country by having the government subsidizing their employees so they can make yet another billion dollars for themselves. Bunch of greedy SOBs who care nothing about their employees, or the country, just how many billions they can make before the die. The only thing I wish was that the fine should be paid out of the owners pocket, not from the company coffers.

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