Wal-Mart Stores Inc. came out on the losing side of its appeal of the majority of a $187.6 million verdict for Pennsylvania hourly workers who allege the world's largest retailer disallowed meal and rest breaks.The case was brought on behalf of some 187,000 present and former Wal-Mart Pennsylvania employees working from 1998 to 2006.They contended the Arkansas-based employer took part in improper practices to enhance productivity, increase profit, and trim expenses.
According to a report from the Economic Times, the three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania said there was sufficient evidence for Philadelphia jurors in 2006 to conclude that Wal-Mart's practices violated state wage and hour laws. It also claimed Wal-Mart's own internal review brought up violations related to "off-the-clock" work.(WcxKit)
The record reflects testimony and documentary evidence suggesting that because of pressure from the home office to reduce labor costs and the availability of significant bonuses for managers based on store profitability, Wal-Mart's scheduling program created chronic understaffing, leading to widespread rest-break violations according to the appeals court records.
It nonetheless instructed the trial court to recalculate a $45.6 million award of legal fees, claiming that court erred by "double-counting" some factors.
The case was brought by Michelle Braun and Dolores Hummel, who had respectively worked in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in eastern Pennsylvania, and drew on evidence from some 46 million shifts according to court records.(WcxKit)
Citations: Braun et al v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc et al and Hummel et al v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc et al, Superior Court of Pennsylvania, No. A21033/09.
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