WAL-MART AGREES TO MULTI-MILLION SETTLEMENT IN CALIFORNIA WAGE-HOUR CLASS ACTION

by Art Gutman Ph.D., Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

Wal-Mart agreed to a settlement of up to 86 million dollars for 232,000 employees alleging nonpayment for vacation or personal leave in accordance with California state law after they were terminated (Ballard v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 4:06-cv-02069, motion to settle filed 5/11/10). The remedy includes 12 million of lost wages in relation to vacation pay and 74 million in potential penalties and interest. The settlement ends two 2006 lawsuits consolidated in the Northern District of California. Wal-Mart appealed class certification in this case, and the ruling, by the 9th Circuit, was stayed pending the ruling in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, a sex discrimination case. The 9th Circuit ruled in Dukes on April 27, 2010, and the settlement in the California wage and hour case followed within two weeks. The case itself is reminiscent of a 2006 case (Braun v. Wal-Mart) in which a jury awarded nearly 250 million dollars under Pennsylvania State law for violations for overtime violations and failure to honor break times.

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