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Scott Jagow: Wal-Mart has a legal hangover this morning.
Yesterday, a judge in Minnesota ordered the company to pay $6.5 million. He cited two million labor law violations, saying Wal-Mart denied workers break time and made them work off the clock. But that $6.5 million might seem like peanuts after a jury trial in October.
Jeremy Hobson explains.
Jeremy Hobson: The lawsuit is one of more than 70 around the country alleging the same thing: wage law violations by Wal-Mart.
Carl Tobias is a University of Richmond law professor who’s been following Wal-Mart’s woes:
Carl Tobias: The number here is pretty substantial, especially if you take 70 suits and most of them are class actions.
More troubling for Wal-Mart are the outcomes.
Fast Company Magazine’s Charles Fishman, author of “The Wal-Mart Effect,” says losses and settlements are becoming a pattern.
Charles Fishman: It’s an indicator that the payroll pressure is so great on store managers that they came up with a nifty way of keeping their costs under control, which is to have their staff work without proper compensation.
Fishman says most of the cases were brought to court several years ago, and that Wal-Mart has likely cleaned up its act at this point.
For its part, Wal-Mart says it pays every employee for every hour worked. And it says it’s considering an appeal in Minnesota.
I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.
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