Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Wal-Mart Employees Seek More Damages
Yahoo ^

Posted on 01/03/2007 6:20:39 PM PST by traumer

Wal-Mart Employees Ask Judge for Another $72 Million in Damages, Interest in Break-Time Case

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Wal-Mart workers in Pennsylvania who won a $78.5 million judgment for working off the clock and through rest breaks returned to court Wednesday to seek another $72 million in damages and interest.

They argue that about 125,000 plaintiffs in the class-action suit deserve an additional $500 each in damages, or $62 million, under Pennsylvania labor laws because the jury found that the world's largest retailer acted in bad faith. These so-called liquidated damages are designed to compensate people for the delay in payment.

The remaining 61,000 plaintiffs -- who do not qualify for those damages because of legal time limits -- should share in $10 million in interest on the back pay, lawyer Michael Donovan argued.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which denies wrongdoing and is appealing the jury award, opposed the added damages and interest. Company attorneys said that Donovan merely estimated the number of potential plaintiffs, and has not proven that each was shortchanged.

"They don't even know who they are," Wal-Mart lawyer Brian Flaherty said.

The workers already are expected to receive anywhere from about $50 to a few thousand dollars each from the initial award, depending on how long they worked for the company.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Mark Bernstein did not immediately rule on the issues argued Wednesday. He questioned why Donovan sought liquidated damages of $500 per worker when the statute could be interpreted to allow $500 in damages each time a worker was shortchanged.

"If I'm a claimant, I'm entitled to everything the law says I'm entitled to, and if that's $500 every time I was shorted and I was shorted 24 times a year, then it's $12,000," Bernstein said.

Donovan said he did not interpret the state wage law that way. He added that Wal-Mart's lack of record-keeping would make it impossible to determine the number of individual violations.

Bernstein oversaw the five-week trial, which culminated in October when the jury rejected Wal-Mart's claim that some employees voluntarily chose to work through breaks and that the off-the-clock work was minimal.

The suit covers current and former employees who worked at Wal-Mart and Sam's Clubs in Pennsylvania from March 1998 through May 2006.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., earned $11.2 billion in profits on $312.4 billion in sales in the last fiscal year. Donovan argued at trial that the unpaid work gave Wal-Mart an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

Lead plaintiff Dolores Hummel said she put in about 10 hours each month off the clock to keep up with demands at a Sam's Club in Reading, where the single mother worked for 10 years to support her son. Sam's Clubs are a division of Wal-Mart.

Donovan has also petitioned the court for more than $40 million in legal fees, plus $5.5 million in expenses. Wal-Mart, which must pay the fees unless the verdict is overturned, objected to the request and asked for more details.

Wal-Mart is appealing a $172 million verdict in a similar California case and settled a Colorado suit over unpaid wages for $50 million.

Wal-Mart policy in Pennsylvania gives hourly employees one paid 15-minute break during a shift of at least three hours and two such breaks, plus an unpaid 30-minute meal break, on a shift of at least six hours.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: walmart
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 121 next last

1 posted on 01/03/2007 6:20:39 PM PST by traumer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: traumer

...deserve an additional $500 each in damages, or $62 million


2 posted on 01/03/2007 6:21:45 PM PST by traumer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: traumer
I've never been in a WalMart... never but I want 250K just because.
3 posted on 01/03/2007 6:22:10 PM PST by steveo (ADVERTISEMENT)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: traumer

OK - if WalMart ripped off employees, then they should pay them for that time. But to get a judgment, then ask for MORE money???

Ugh...


4 posted on 01/03/2007 6:23:07 PM PST by TheBattman (I've got TWO QUESTIONS for you....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: traumer

Walmart sure employs a lot of people in PA.


5 posted on 01/03/2007 6:24:45 PM PST by Ingtar (Prensa dos para el ingles)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: traumer
The WalMart in my neighborhood is a dump, just awful. Customers trying to pick the pockets of other customers and cashiers looking like they've just come off a long night of crack cocaine. That being said, it is my understanding from others, that most of them are pretty nice places. Therefore, I have no loyalties or biases concerning the store.

That notwithstanding: if you're employing THAT many people, you'd better be damn sure you're not trying to nickel and dime them, cutting corners on regulations, because it's going to come back and bite you with a vengeance. Very foolish of WalMart.

Owl_Eagle

If what I just wrote made you sad or angry,
it was probably just a joke.

6 posted on 01/03/2007 6:26:59 PM PST by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: traumer

"If I'm a claimant, I'm ENTITLED to everything the law says I'm entitled to, and if that's $500 every time I was shorted and I was shorted 24 times a year, then it's $12,000 "

:o)


7 posted on 01/03/2007 6:27:13 PM PST by traumer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ingtar

A lot of these folks are undoubtedly even now trying to figure out how to get overtime on unemployment.


8 posted on 01/03/2007 6:32:08 PM PST by JennysCool (Well done, President Ford.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: traumer
The remaining 61,000 plaintiffs -- who do not qualify for those damages because of legal time limits -- should share in $10 million in interest on the back pay, lawyer Michael Donovan argued.

Gee, the author forget to mention how much money lawyer Michael Donovan was going to get.

9 posted on 01/03/2007 6:37:43 PM PST by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: traumer

They were forced to work off the clock??? If thats true, what the hell was Walmart thinking??


10 posted on 01/03/2007 7:00:38 PM PST by escapefromboston (manny ortez: mvp)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ingtar
Walmart sure employs a lot of people in PA

Maybe Wally's World should look at PA.....

in the review mirror.

11 posted on 01/03/2007 7:21:05 PM PST by LasVegasMac (Islam........not fit for human consumption.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: escapefromboston

"If thats true, what the hell was Walmart thinking??"

My sentiments exactly. How stupid can a company be to not make it plain to its management to adhere to the letter of the law and/or their agreements with their employees?

I mean, it's not like nobody knows that Wally World is the biggest target of unions, the media, and the left in general for cripes sake. They are under a microscope.


12 posted on 01/03/2007 7:23:19 PM PST by Felis_irritable (Dirty_Felis_Irritable...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: traumer

"Lead plaintiff Dolores Hummel said she put in about 10 hours each month off the clock to keep up with demands at a Sam's Club in Reading"

I don't know how these people can prove their case, and Wal Mart should pay if its a legit complaint, but if this lady thinks that 10 hours a MONTH of overtime without getting any extra money is bad, she should try working salary in the tech industry. She doesn't have a clue what overtime is. I work at least that 10 hours overtime a week and I never see a penny extra for it.


13 posted on 01/03/2007 7:29:51 PM PST by navyguy (We don't need more youth. What we need is a fountain of SMART.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Felis_irritable

I work at Sam's Club part-time and attend college. I do not understand how the employees are able to work off the clock. The system will not allow it. My bosses are very strict about taking breaks. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THEM!!

Also the computer system locks you out when you clock out and you have to take a 30 minute lunch break. It will not let you clock back in until the 30 minutes has passed.

I work in the office and when it kicks you out- you are out!


14 posted on 01/03/2007 7:43:58 PM PST by republicangel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: republicangel

"Also the computer system locks you out when you clock out and you have to take a 30 minute lunch break. It will not let you clock back in until the 30 minutes has passed."

That sounds like the company is trying to do the right thing. Which doesn't surprise me. If - and let me emphasize IF - these disgruntled employees' assertions are true, maybe a few local managers were thwarting the system to lower their expenses? They do have thousands of stores and there are a few weasels in every group.


15 posted on 01/03/2007 7:54:57 PM PST by Felis_irritable (Dirty_Felis_Irritable...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Felis_irritable

That is quite possible. My managers are extremely frugal, but they also drill it into you during the hiring process that working off the clock is not acceptable. If anyone asks you to do this, you are to report them. .

I hope the managers at these stores were promptly fired for abusing their employees. Trust me, there are all kinds of ways for the authorities to know if they were skirting around the system.


16 posted on 01/03/2007 8:03:03 PM PST by republicangel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: republicangel

Is it possible to clock out on lunch and then return to, let's say, the dock area to break down all your empty cartons and throw them in the dumpster so that when you get back from lunch it will look like to the boss that you're keeping up with your job?


17 posted on 01/03/2007 8:51:25 PM PST by uptoolate
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Felis_irritable

"Also the computer system locks you out when you clock out and you have to take a 30 minute lunch break. It will not let you clock back in until the 30 minutes has passed."

My wife works at Walmart and was contacted by the law firm handling the case. She refused to be any part of it. She explained that it was probably a few bad managers and some current and former workers looking for some free money. These workers apparently worked through a 15 minute break or two. It was hteir responsiblity to take their breaks and they chose not to.


18 posted on 01/03/2007 9:25:58 PM PST by takbodan (.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Gabz

Wally ping.


19 posted on 01/03/2007 9:33:58 PM PST by upchuck (How to win the WOT? Simple: set our rules of engagement to at least match those of our enemy.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: navyguy
I don't know how these people can prove their case, and Wal Mart should pay if its a legit complaint, but if this lady thinks that 10 hours a MONTH of overtime without getting any extra money is bad, she should try working salary in the tech industry. She doesn't have a clue what overtime is. I work at least that 10 hours overtime a week and I never see a penny extra for it.

First off, she didn't work "overtime," which is a legal definition for time worked by hourly workers over the standard 40 hour week. She worked OFF THE CLOCK, meaning that she was ordered to work during hours for which she was not being paid.

And don't forget that she's an hourly worker. There was an agreement entered into here, by both her and Walmart. The agreement was that she would be paid for every hour that she worked. Completely different than a salaried worker, which it seems both you and I are, and in the same industry.

It would be easy for her to prove that she worked additional hours. If she kept records of the time she started working versus when she timed in and out.

Again, you mentioned that she "doesn't have a clue what overtime is." Remember, by the employment agreement that she entered into with Walmart, they agreed to pay her hourly for her work, so she's not complaining about not getting overtime. She's complaining about working for Walmart at no pay. You can't say the same thing. As a salaried employee, you entered into an agreement that you would work until you finish, no matter what the hours, as have I. For instance, tonight I was responsible for moving 30 remote store VPN routers from one of our "hub" VPN routers to another. That little bonus project, plus my normal day to day work, allowed me to have a nice little extension to my normal 10 hour work day... 9:00am to 10:30pm. But that's part of MY job, and my employment agreement.

Mark

20 posted on 01/03/2007 10:10:08 PM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 121 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson