Employment & Compensation Lawsuit
Walmart Class Action Lawsuit
Walmart Faces Class Action Wage and Hour Lawsuit for Violation of Labor Laws
A former employee has filed a wage and hour lawsuit against Walmart Stores Inc. in a Pennsylvania federal court seeking a class action status. James Jenko, an Overbrook resident who once worked as an assistant manager at a local Walmart outlet, claims that the retail giant categorized assistant managers as exempt employees and did not pay them for their overtime, which is a breach of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The plaintiff joined Walmart in 1998 and was employed with it until July 2012. He was promoted as assistant manager in 2003.
According to the litigation initiated in February 2013, the plaintiff worked for 50 to 55 hours every week without being paid for overtime, because the classification of assistant managers as exempt employees by Walmart made him ineligible for paid overtime. The wage and hour lawsuit seeks full payment of overtime dues with interest, punitive compensation, and penalties on the ground that duties performed by assistant managers at Walmart stores are similar to those of nonexempt, hourly workers.
The wage and hour lawsuit has sought class action status representing all existing and former Walmart assistant managers considered exempted from overtime laws and not paid their dues. If accepted, the Walmart wage class action could become a potential botheration for the retail giant with the potential number of plaintiffs likely to exceed 2,000 alone in Pennsylvania. It will cover 8 to 10 assistant managers working in each of 156 Walmart stores in the state and hundreds of people who had previously worked in similar capacities at these stores in the last three years.
Similar Walmart Wage and Hour Lawsuits
The world’s largest private employer is in the thick of controversy over violation of labor and employment laws. A number of employees have filed lawsuits against Walmart citing misclassification of employees, reduced bonus or commissions, no overtime wage, failure to reimburse, and unpaid on-duty meals. According to Bloomberg, at least 12 percent of more than 3,000 federal lawsuits filed against the retailer in the last three years are related to wage and other employment issues. Dozens of Walmart wage violation lawsuits are currently pending for trial in different U.S. courts.
In December 2008, Walmart paid $54.3 million to settle a wage class action lawsuit filed against it by employees at a Dakota County court in Minnesota. The litigation had sought compensation for over 100,000 existing and former workers employed by the retailer between 1998 and 2008 citing infringements of wage and hour laws and non-payment of overtime dues. The court held Walmart guilty of state labor law violations on over 2 million occasions.
A fortnight after the Minnesota class action lawsuit resolution, Walmart announced to settle 63 wage and hour lawsuits filed by its former employees in 42 different states. The settlement amount was estimated to cost the retailer at least $400 million. According to the plaintiffs, Walmart forced its employees to work even during the breaks and denied them overtime payment.
In 2005, Walmart lost a highly publicized wage violation class action lawsuit in California that resulted in $172 million compensation in favor of its employees in the state. In 2006, another wage class action brought against the retailer in Pennsylvania led the court to order $78 million compensation in favor of the plaintiffs.
In September 2012, a former Canadian employee of Walmart won $1.49 million in a lawsuit in which she had raised alleged the retail giant of workplace mistreatment. Women employees working in Walmart stores in California, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee have filed lawsuits against their employer in 2011 and 2012, claiming that the retailer pays women less salary than their male counterparts.
In 2010, three former assistant managers initiated litigation in West Virginia courts against Walmart challenging their wrongful termination.
Growing Number of Wage Lawsuits in the United States
According to the National Economic Research Associates report released in March 2013, wage lawsuit settlement payments in 2012 increased by 18 percent. Entitled as “Wage and Hour Settlements: 2012 Update,” the report highlights that overtime lawsuits were highest among wage litigations filed alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and there was $4.8 million average compensation per litigation in 2012. A study by the CNNMoney has found that filing of wage and hour lawsuits in the United States has gone up by approximately 400 times in the previous three years.
The list of most notable wage and hour lawsuits settled in the recent years includes the following settlements.
- In March 2013, the First Republic Bank agreed to pay $1 million to 400 employees. The federal labor department held the bank guilty for misclassification of employees as exempted and nonpayment of overtime dues to them.
- In January 2012, Novartis Pharmaceuticals paid $99 million to end wage lawsuits filed by 7,000 employees citing exemption from overtime pays.
- In August 2012, H&R Block Enterprises gave $35 million in compensation to 18,000 employees after it was indicted for violation of California labor laws.
- In December 2012, employees of food processing multinational Dole filed a wage violation class action lawsuit in a Monterey County accusing the employer of wage law violation.
- In September 2012, a wage class action against Tyson Foods, based in Springdale, resulted in $32 million settlement. More than 17,000 former and current employees got compensation for the time they spent donning and doffing protective gears at 41 plants operated by the food processor in the country.