Wal-Mart Wage-and-Hour Settlement Approved in NV

November 4, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. received final approval on Monday of a settlement in which it will pay between $65 million and $85 million to resolve wage-and-hour violations alleged by more than 3 million workers - the largest wage-and-hour class on record.

The Associated Press reports that Nevada District Court Judge Philip M. Pro issued final approval of the settlement, which covers 39 class action lawsuits across multiple states. Last December, the company said it would pay as much as $640 million to settle 63 lawsuits over wage-and-hour violations, but each settlement still has to be approved by a trial court.

Settlements have been approved separately over the past several months in Minnesota, Washington, and Iowa (see Wal-Mart Settles with WA Workers over Pay for Breaks ).

The lawsuits claim the company failed to compensate workers for off-the-clock work and overtime, altered employee time records, and prevented employees from taking breaks for rest and lunch.

The news report said claimants can expect to receive anywhere from $25 to $300, depending on their length of service and number of incidents claimed, and lead counsel Robert Bonsignore indicated that payments could reach as high as $1,000. However, Pro awarded one-third of the total settlement, or as much as $28 million, to plaintiffs’ lawyers.

“The Court finds that Class Counsel have achieved an exceptionally favorable result for the members of the Settlement Classes by diligently pursuing this complex litigation for years despite the substantial risk of no recovery,” Pro wrote, according to the AP.

In a related Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) case in August, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $5 million to certain participants of the Wal-Mart Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plan and/or the Wal-Mart Puerto Rico Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plan. The lawsuit claimed hourly workers were owed 401(k) plan contributions on wages owed per the pending lawsuits alleging wage and hour violations (see Wal-Mart Settles ERISA Case for $5M ).