The parties have agreed to a $54 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by Wal-Mart workers in Minnesota, according to a story in the LA Times. The workers claimed that Wal-Mart cut their break times and allowed employees to work off the clock. The judge in the case said Wal-Mart violated the law more than 2 million times by denying workers their break time and forcing workers to work off the clock for no pay. Wal-Mart faced possible fines of $2 billion in the case.
According to Walmartwatch.com, in late December 2008 Wal-Mart announced it would settle 63 wage and hour lawsuits pending against it, about 86% of the total lawsuits pending against it on this issue. The website says these suits have uncovered a corporate culture of cutting costs by hiring below the preferred staffing levels and rewarding managers for keeping labor costs down. The Minnesota lawsuit outlines some of the preferred methods used to keep costs low.
The settlement is available for 100,000 workers who worked at Wal-Mart stores in Minnesota between the years 1998 and 2008.