Wal-Mart Hit with Overtime Verdict

December 20, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal jury says the nation's largest private employer has been forcing workers to work unpaid overtime.

More than 400 employees from 24 of Wal-Mart’s 27 Oregon stores sued the retailer in the first of several similar suits across the country to come to trial, according to the Associated Press.   The suit, filed by Carolyn Thiebes and Betty Alderson, who worked in managerial positions at Wal-Mart stores in the Salem area, claimed managers got employees to work off the clock by asking them to clean up the store after they’d clocked out and by deleting hours from time records.

According to the AP report, the suit also said Wal-Mart reprimanded employees who claimed overtime. Plaintiffs claimed workers felt forced to work after clocking out because managers assigned them more work than they could complete in an regular shift.

Wal-Mart attorney Rudy Englund conceded during opening arguments Tuesday that some off-the-clock work occurred, but said company policy expressly forbids it, according to the AP.

The jury did not rule on monetary damages, which will be decided in a separate trial.

Wal-Mart has previously settled two similar overtime cases in Colorado and New Mexico – the former reportedly for $50 million two years ago to settle an off-the-clock lawsuit covering 69,000 workers in Colorado.   More recently the retailer settled for $500,000 a case involving 120 workers in Gallup, New Mexico, according to the report, citing one of the plaintiff’s attorneys.