Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Wal-Mart Accused of Denying Lunch Breaks

Wal-Mart Accused of Depriving Employees Lunch Breaks in First of About 40 Cases Against Retailer
"I will prove the reason they did this was for the God Almighty dollar," Furth said in his opening statement.
Nine jurors must side with the plaintiffs to prevail. Millions of dollars also are sought to punish the company for the alleged wrongdoing.The case concerns a 2001 state law, which is among the nation's most worker friendly. Employees who work at least six hours must have a 30-minute, unpaid lunch break. If they do not get that, the law requires they are paid for an additional hour of pay.The lawsuit covers former and current employees in California from 2001 to 2005.Wal-Mart declined to give an opening statement, reserving its right to give one later. Its lawyers also declined comment.In court documents, the Bentonville, Ark., company claims that workers did not demand penalty wages on a timely basis. Wal-Mart adds that it did pay some employees their penalty pay and, in 2003, most workers agreed to waive their meal periods as the law allows.The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also says some violations were minor, such as demanding employees punch back in from lunch and work during their meal breaks. In essence, workers were provided a shorter meal period than the law allows.....


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