Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, has kicked off the holiday shopping season with a costly expense. The company has agreed to pay $40 million in the most recent of a string of wage and hour class-action settlements that have challenged the retailer over the past 12 months.
Last December, the company agreed to pay up to $640 million to settle 63 outstanding federal and state class-action wage and hour suits. This most recent settlement, which will benefit more than 87,000 current and former employees in Massachusetts, was based on allegations similar to those of that landmark December 2009 settlement, but it is not a part of that group of cases.
In the recent suit, which was filed in 2001, Wal-Mart was accused of violating state and federal wage and hour laws in denying workers rest and meal breaks, refusing to pay overtime, and altering timecards. Wal-Mart denies the allegations but has agreed to pay between $400 and $2,500 to persons who worked for the company in Massachusetts between August 1995 and December 2009.
The settlement is the largest wage and hour settlement in Massachusetts history.