Wal-Mart agrees to pay $4.8M in back wages, damages

By Kimberly Atkins

Dolan Media Newswires

BOSTON, MA--A Department of Labor investigation of Wal-Mart Stores has ended with the company agreeing to pay $4,828,442 in back wages and damages to more than 4,500 employees nationwide.

The agreement also requires the retail chain to pay $463,815 in civil money penalties for violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime provisions.

The violations involved misclassified vision center managers at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores who were not compensated for overtime, according to the Labor Department. Under the terms of the settlement, Wal-Mart has agreed to pay all back wages the department says it owes for the violations, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages to the employees.

"Misclassification of employees as exempt from FLSA coverage is a costly problem with adverse consequences for employees and corporations," Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement announcing the settlement. "Let this be a signal to other companies that when violations are found, the Labor Department will take appropriate action to ensure that workers receive the wages they have earned."

Wal-Mart corrected its classification practices in 2007, and negotiation over the back pay issues has been ongoing since that time.

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Published: Thu, May 10, 2012