On May 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay $4,828,442 in back wages and damages to over 4,500 employees, and $463,815 in civil penalties, as a result of an investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found that Wal-Mart violated overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to compensate vision center managers and asset protection coordinators for their overtime work at Wal-Mart Discount Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club.
In addition, the Labor Department found that Wal-Mart misclassified certain employees as exempt from FLSA’s overtime requirements, even though the employees were entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked above 40 in one week. Wal-Mart agreed to pay all back wages and liquidated damages to the misclassified employees, plus a penalty to the Department. Wal-Mart corrected its classification practices in 2007 and spent 5 years negotiating the back pay issues before agreeing to the terms of the settlement.
“Thanks to this resolution, thousands of employees will see money put back into their pockets that should have been there all along. The damages and penalties assessed in this case should put other employers on notice that they cannot avoid their obligations to their employees by inappropriately classifying their workers as exempt,” said Nancy J. Leppink, deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division.
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive nationwide wage and hour practice representing employees whose rights have been violated, including nonpayment of wages and denial of overtime pay.