Judge finds Wal-Mart guilty of 2 million violations — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Judge finds Wal-Mart guilty of 2 million violations

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Wal-Mart’s class-action woes are reaching cosmic proportions. Dakota County District Judge Robert King Jr. in June found the mega-retailer guilty of 2 million violations of Minnesota labor law. At the rate of $1,000 per violation, that could add up to $2 billion in fines.

The decision marks Wal-Mart’s third straight class-action defeat. Wal-Mart employees have filed more than 70 suits nationwide, alleging the company violates wage-and-hour laws.

King ruled the company shorted workers on rest and meal breaks. He ordered the company to pay $6.5 million in back wages to Minnesota workers, calling the violations “willful.” “Wal-Mart was on notice from numerous sources of the wage-and-hour violations at issue, and failed to correct the problem,” he wrote in a 151-page decision.

The penalty phase of the trial, in which King will decide how much Wal-Mart will have to pay, is scheduled to begin in October.

Your organization might not ever be in a position to rack up 2 million violations, but you could still find yourself paying hefty penalties for seemingly small wage-and-hour slip-ups. Just a few minutes of unpaid break time can add up when multiplied over a period of years. Be sure to prohibit hourly employees from working through or skipping their allotted breaks.

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