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Wal-Mart agrees to pay workers up to $640 million

by JP Bill / December 23, 2008 10:48 PM PST
Wal-Mart agrees to pay workers up to $640 million

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) ? Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said Tuesday it will pay as much as $640 million to settle 63 lawsuits over wage-and-hour violations, ending years of dispute.

The discount retailer, which has more than 1.4 million employees, said the amount it pays will depend on how many claims are submitted by eligible workers and could range from $352 million to $640 million.

The agreement the company announced Tuesday ends the vast majority of such cases against Wal-Mart. Each settlement still must be approved by a trial court.

Wal-Mart faced 76 similar class action lawsuits in courts across the country as of March 31, the company said in its most recent 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based company said many of the settled lawsuits were filed years ago and the allegations are not representative of the company Wal-Mart is today.

"Our policy is to pay associates for every hour worked and to provide rest and meal breaks," Tom Mars, Wal-Mart's executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

Our policy is to pay associates for every hour worked and to provide rest and meal breaks

You may have to take us to court....but we'll pay you.
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Now they've gone the opposite direction
by Diana Forum moderator / December 24, 2008 9:41 AM PST

Now, if you don't take your lunch within certain time parameters or work too many hours without taking two lunches, you can get fired. Two people were fired recently at Sam's Club for this.

Of course, too many call-ins can cause termination as well even if you have doctor's notes. We've had this as well.

Both can be re-hired after 90 days.


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(NT) hired back as unemployment benefits expire?
by James Denison / December 24, 2008 10:50 AM PST
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Why would a company be that generous?
by JP Bill / December 24, 2008 11:48 AM PST

Unemployment benefits run out?

Come back to work for us.

Did you enjoy your paid(unemployment benefits) vacation?

Who do you think they are? Santa Claus?

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Betting because after 90 days
by Roger NC / December 25, 2008 12:04 AM PST

they're new hires, not returnees, under Wall Mart benefit rules.

Which means whatever benefits they had gain for time served, they have to start over accumulating service time. Not only vacation time (whatever may exist) but health benefits too possibly. Not only would they have to carry any insurance as cobra for the 90 days they were out, but if classified as new hires, they still would have to carry it as cobra for another 90 days before the company would pick it up again. And that also might open another can of worms, existing conditions not be covered for a year or more.

That's if Walmart has those type of things.

And probably start at beginnning pay again instead of the pay they left at, if higher.


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It's not really the case
by Diana Forum moderator / December 25, 2008 1:34 AM PST

If you have worked for Wal-Mart in the past, you get re-hired with your seniority and benefits. I have a friend that is working for Wal-Mart and had worked for them in the past. Her starting salary was what it would have been based on the number of years that she worked before.


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Playing devil's advocate, sorry
by Roger NC / December 25, 2008 2:37 AM PST

should have been clear that those things might be factors.

Actually I glad to hear past time does count for something if you're rehired.

But as far as being fired for not taking your lunch breaks, etc., I don't know about in retail, but in industry, usually your lunch break is sometimes set by time or by when someone relieves you. Of course, even in industry some jobs breaks and lunch are whenever the work allows you to grab a few minutes.

Either way, firing someone for missing a break sound like a draconic overreaction to legal complaints about people being pressured to skip breaks.


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Breaks aren't that big a deal.
by Diana Forum moderator / December 25, 2008 4:24 AM PST

You don't clock out for breaks. You do clock out for lunches. I'm sure that Wal-Mart is rather paranoid about the whole problem. It was usually GMs that required workers to work off the clock but headquarters is paying the price. I have no sympathy for the corporation. It is their push for profits that can cause the problem.

These two employees were warned about lunches and they were able to take their lunches whenever they wanted. They didn't have to be relieved. So they were just not paying attention. I know it seems silly to be fired to be so focused on the job that lunch is forgotten.

Being on the door, I have to be relieved (I can't just walk away) so it's my bosses that get into trouble when I get a late lunch or work overtime. I call when it's time for my lunch or when I have to leave to avoid overtime. The GM knows this because I've told him.


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While the person was 'fired"
by JP Bill / December 25, 2008 3:05 AM PST

were they eligible for Unemployment Benefits?

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(NT) Of course
by Diana Forum moderator / December 25, 2008 4:05 AM PST
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RE:Of course
by JP Bill / December 25, 2008 5:20 AM PST
In reply to: Of course
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My guess as to the distribution of the $640 million:
by Paul C / December 25, 2008 3:40 AM PST

Employees, $40 million; lawyers, $600 million.

And so it goes in Legal Lotto, where the house does better than any Vegas casino...

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