Court Forces Wal-Mart to Comply with CA Break Laws

August 16, 2006 ( - A judge said Monday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., must follow California laws that require workers who work more than five hours to get a 30-minute break, or receive an extra hour worth of pay.

The workers asked Alameda County Superior Judge Ronald Sabraw in Oakland to rule on the matter after a jury said the giant retailer must pay workers $172.3 million for not allowing them to take breaks since 1998 (See   Golden State Jury Hits Wal-Mart with $172M Verdict in Lunch Break Case). The store was ordered to pay   $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages for violating a 2001 state law.

The company is facing similar suits around the country, according to Bloomberg, including a class action suit in Pennsylvania in which about 150,000 current and former employees said they weren’t paid properly for breaks taken over the last seven years (See PA Judge Approves Class in Wal-Mart Break Pay Case).

In addition to forcing the retailer to adhere to the state law, Judge Sabraw said Wal-Mart must provide reports on its compliance for the next three years, Bloomberg reported.