In an ongoing class action wage and hour lawsuit, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. may be given a break, despite breaking employment law by having its employees work overtime and skip breaks without pay. Filed in Minnesota court in 2002, the lawsuit alleges break and wage violations and represents about 100,000 current and former hourly Wal-Mart employees who claim they were forced to work without pay before and after their shifts so Wal-Mart managers could meet profit and productivity goals.
Earlier this year in July, the state judge threatened to impose a fine of $1,000 per violation; Wal-Mart would then owe more than $2 billion in fines, with a majority of this money being returned to unpaid hourly employees and a part going to the state. At that time, the judge had also ruled that Wal-Mart owed $6.5 million to 56,000 employees for failing at least 1.5 million times to give workers promised rest breaks and that the company had failed to provide time to eat a meal 73,864 times.
As in many wage and hour lawsuits, systematically missed breaks add up, which is why a company try to cut corners will work their wage workers without pay. While a single missed break can be worth less than a dollar, the failure to allow a break repeated many times over comes to a substantial amount of unpaid wages.
Additionally, the Minnesota judge ruled that Wal-Mart managers had broken wage and hour law by having employees take required training off-the-clock.
All this legal action and compensation came from the courage of four women who filed the original lawsuit stating that Wal-Mart managers had made them work off the clock and had denied their meal and rest breaks.
The $54.3 million wage and hour settlement is still subject to court approval.
Tennessee and federal wage and hour laws set minimum wages, establish the requiremefor salaried pay, and provide for overtime and other rules governing pay for work.
If your Tennessee employer has repeatedly pressured you or fellow employees to work off the clock, then you, too, may have unpaid wages coming your way. If your Tennessee employer was inconsistent about when your workweek began and ended to prevent paying you overtime, you may have unpaid overtime wages coming your way. If your Tennessee employer labeled you as a salaried employee to prevent paying you overtime or a minimum wage, you may have unpaid wages coming your way.
For more on Tennessee wage and hour law, or if you suspect you may be a victim of time card fraud or unpaid wages, contact the Nashville law offices of the Higgins Firm. Our wage and hour attorneys know Tennessee labor law and can offer a free evaluation of your complaint of an illegal pay practices by a Nashville or other Tennessee employer. Call our employment lawyers at (615) 353-0930 or fill out our quick TN wage and overtime attorney form.