You may remember the big employee win against Wal-Mart. A class-action lawsuit under Pennsylvania’s wage-and-hour law made national headlines when the retailer was zapped for allegedly allowing employees to work “off the clock.”
Now the news has gotten much worse for the company—$62.3 million worse, to be exact.
That’s how much the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas just tacked on to the $78.5 million Wal-Mart already owed workers for time they worked off the clock, bringing the retailer’s back-pay tab to more than $140 million. About 125,000 workers will receive $500 apiece in liquidated damages under a state law triggered when a company withholds pay for more than 30 days without cause.
A jury awarded the full amount requested by the plaintiffs, rejecting Wal-Mart’s argument that some employees chose to work through breaks or that it amounted to only a minute or two here and there.
The verdict shows how fast a minute or two can add up when multiplied over a number of employees and a period of years.
Advice: Protect your company from back wage claims by absolutely prohibiting hourly employees from working off the clock, even if they claim to do so voluntarily.