Wal-Mart Violates Overtime Laws; Settles With DOL

Wal-Mart recently settled a case with the U.S. Department of Labor involving violations of the FLSA’s overtime provisions for $33 million.  The case involved 87,000 salaried and hourly employees who were not paid at the proper overtime rates.  The retail giant improperly calculated overtime payments by failing to include bonus payments into the employees pay rate when calculating overtime premium.  The agreement also addresses payment of overtime to certain non-exempt salaried interns, manager trainees, and programmer trainees.  While violations of this nature are common, Steven Mandel, an associate solicitor at the Department of Labor, said "these are serious violations."

Wal-Mart, facing approximately 70 lawsuits for wage and hour violations throughout the country, reported these violations to the Department of Labor and then settled with the DOL.  A spokesman for Wake-Up Wal-Mart, Chris Kofinis, criticized the agreement stating, "How do you negotiate a deal on behalf of workers when workers aren't included in the negotiations."  The employees had no independent legal representation in the settlement process.  As a result, Wal-Mart was likely able to settle the case for less than their actual liability.  Wal-Mart also avoided assessment of fines or penalties.