Wal-Mart: $54M to settle workers' suit

Class-action lawsuit alleged the company cut workers' break time and allowed employees to work off the clock.

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By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Tuesday it will pay up to $54.25 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged it cut workers' break time and permitted them to work off the clock.

The class includes about 100,000 current and former hourly employees who worked at Wal-Mart Stores (WMT, Fortune 500) and Sam's Clubs in Minnesota from Sept. 11, 1998, through Nov. 14, 2008.

The settlement states that Wal-Mart could pay up to $54.25 million, including a substantial payment to the State of Minnesota.

As part of the settlement, Wal-Mart agreed to maintain electronic systems to stay compliant with wage and hour policies and laws in Minnesota.

The company said that all parties believed the settlement was fair.

"Our policies are to pay every associate for every hour worked and to make rest and meal breaks available for associates," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement. "Any manager who violates these policies is subject to discipline, up to and including termination."

A lawyer for the class said he was pleased with the deal.

"We are ... gratified that these hourly workers will now be paid after seven years of litigation, and happy that the State of Minnesota will receive the largest wage and hour civil penalty in its history," Justin Perl of Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand of Minneapolis, co-lead counsel for the class, said in a statement.

A hearing for preliminary approval of the settlement has been scheduled for Jan. 14. To top of page

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