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Wal-Mart Accused of Violating Minimum Wage Laws in Recent Suit

A new lawsuit accused Wal-Mart Stores and two cooperating staffing agencies of forcing temporary employees to show up early for work, stay late, and work through lunch. The suit further alleges that the staffing agencies, Labor Ready-Midwest Inc. and QPS Employment Group Inc., failed to provide workers assigned to Wal-Mart with proper wage payment notices that are required by the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act.

The proposed class action suit against the world’s largest retailer was filed on Monday in a Chicago, Illinois federal court. The suit claims that since October 2009, Wal-Mart and the staffing companies violated minimum wage and overtime laws in instances involving several hundred temporary workers. Wal-Mart did not keep accurate records of workers’ time as required by federal and state law and never provided workers with forms verifying the hours they worked. The filing also says that Wal-Mart failed to pay temporary workers a minimum of four hours' pay on days a laborer was contracted to work, but was not utilized for a minimum of four hours. Wal-Mart has so far declined to comment, saying it needs time to review the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection, and the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services acts. It also claims a violation of the Illinois Minimum Wage Law. The plaintiffs are asking for all unpaid wages for the workers and an injunction that prevents Wal-Mart and the staffing agencies from violating such laws in the future.

The suit is just the latest trouble for Wal-Mart which has faced protests across the country as workers walked off the job on Black Friday to protest the ever-increasing hours they are forced to work over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The groups have complained generally about the difficult working conditions faced by those at the giant retailer.

Back in 2008, Wal-Mart agreed to pay as much as $640 million to settle multiple federal and state class-action lawsuits alleging it treated workers unfairly by depriving them of wages. In separate litigation last year, the U.S. Supreme Court shot down an attempt at suing the company for gender discrimination against its female employees.

Source: “Wal-Mart Hit with Minimum Wage Lawsuit as Walkout Threat Looms,” published at Reuters.com.

Source: “Temp Workers File Class-Action Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart Over Wages,” by Allison Horton, published at SunTimes.com.

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Increasing Number of Workers File Wage and Hour Complaints
Department of Labor Finds that Employees who Wear Safety Equipment Must be Paid to Don and Doff that Equipment

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