Judge approves $85M class action against Wal-MartSeveral hundred former and present North Dakota Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees may see some money flow their way. A Nevada federal court judge gave final approval Wednesday to an $85 million class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. amid a wage and hour dispute.
By: Lisa Call, The Dickinson Press
Several hundred former and present North Dakota Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees may see some money flow their way.
A Nevada federal court judge gave final approval Wednesday to an $85 million class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. amid a wage and hour dispute.
Involving 30 states and more than 3 million hourly employees, the suit claimed Wal-Mart employees were asked to work off the clock and breaks were cut short or not given consistently.
“The policy was a little off and didn’t really go with the law,” said Kevin McMillan, assistant to Robert Bonsignore, national lead counsel for the employees. “It’s anything but an isolated occurrence.”
Hourly employees who worked for Wal-Mart in the year 2000 and beyond may file a claim.
“They were requested to take shorter breaks,” said Mike Miller, a Fargo-based attorney and North Dakota counsel for the suit.“That’s the primary focus of the overall settlement — is those cases.”
Rose Kostelecky, a 19-year-veteran employee of Dickinson’s Wal-Mart Supercenter, said she has never been asked to work off the clock.
“I have never, myself, never ever worked off the clock,” Kostelecky said. “They’re very strict about that. I know that nobody here does.”
While it is nearly impossible to know if the incidents occurred at every Wal-Mart store, there is enough evidence to show that it happened, Miller said.
“Wal-Mart is not admitting they did anything wrong,” Miller said. “But litigation is litigation. We feel it’s better to settle it at this point than go forward with it any further.”
The last day for eligible North Dakota Wal-Mart employees to submit a request for a portion of the settlement is Nov. 9, according to a press release.
Employees have 30 days after the entry of judgment to file an appeal, Miller said.
“The people that are part of it can protest it if they’re not in agreement with it,” Miller said. “If in fact somebody objects, it could definitely delay payment for quite some time.”
Management at Dickinson’s Supercenter Wal-Mart declined comment.
Michelle Bradford, senior manager of corporate communications at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., said the company has no further comment beyond a December 2008 press release.
“Resolving this litigation is in the best interest of our company, our shareholders and our associates,” said Tom Mars, executive vice president and general counsel, in the release. “Many of these lawsuits were filed years ago and the allegations are not representative of the company we are today.”