Walmart Stores, Inc. has agreed to pay up to $640 million to settle 63 wage and hour class action lawsuits that have been pending against the company for several years in more than 40 states.
The lawsuits alleged the company forced employees to work off the clock and work through lunch breaks and that the company failed to calculate overtime correctly.
Each of the settlements is subject to approval by the trial court, and the total amount to be paid will depend on the amount of claims that are submitted by class members. Under the agreements, the total will be at least $352 million but no more than $640 million. Also, as part of the settlements, Walmart has agreed to continue to use various electronic systems and other measures designed to maintain compliance with its wage and hour policies and applicable law.
“Resolving this litigation is in the best interest of our company, our shareholders and our associates,” said Tom Mars, executive vice president and general counsel for the company. “Many of these lawsuits were filed years ago and the allegations are not representative of the company we are today. Our policy is to pay associates for every hour worked and to provide rest and meal breaks. This is a commitment we make to the more than 1.4 million associates who choose to work for Walmart and serve our customers and members every day. We have worked hard to have the right communication, processes and systems in place to help us live up to this commitment.”
The cases covered by the settlements were brought by several different groups of plaintiffs' counsel. Frank Azar of the law firm of Franklin D. Azar & Associates, P.C., co-lead counsel in fourteen states, said, “We are pleased with this settlement and believe it is fair and reasonable for our clients. We are equally pleased that Walmart has made tremendous strides in wage and hour compliance and that it has implemented and agreed to continue to follow state of the art compliance programs so that these improvements will continue into the future. We hope Walmart's compliance programs will serve as an example to other major retailers.”
A full list of the cases covered by the settlements is available at: http://walmartstores.com/FactsNews/NewsRoom/8874.aspx