Workers accuse company of breaking labor laws
Discount giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is facing a lawsuit seeking class-action status for temporary workers who claim the retailer and its staffing agencies violated federal overtime and minimum-wage laws.
Filed in the U.S. District Court of Illinois, the suit accuses the world’s largest retailer of requiring employees to work during meals and breaks and to show up early and stay late without pay.
The suit alleges that Wal-Mart did not accurately keep records of how much time workers put in. The discounter is also accused of neglecting to compensate temporary workers for a minimum of four hours of work on days they were assigned to a store but then worked less than four hours, violating Illinois labor laws.
The suit claims that two of its staffing agencies, Labor Ready and QPS, did not give employees who worked at Wal-Mart stores proper employment data. Therefore, temporary workers were therefore unable to prove that they were not paid fairly for all the hours they worked, the lawsuit alleges.
The violations began in early 2009 and continue up to the present, the suit alleges.
The suit is looking to recover all unpaid wages to workers and an injunction against Wal-Mart and its temporary staffing agencies to bar them from future violations of Illinois labor laws.
Wal-Mart has been dealing with other high-profile labor issues recently. Last month, 88 employees in a dozen cities walked off the job and protested at the company’s Arkansas headquarters. The organizers said they may plan further action on this year’s Black Friday, possibly including strikes and rallies.
Dan Fogleman, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the company was still reviewing the complaint.
“One thing is clear, this litigation is being driven by the same union organizations that have been mischaracterizing several issues about Wal-Mart and are more concerned with creating publicity than with improving workers’ rights,” Fogleman said.
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