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Walmart Workers ask California Judge to OK $2.25M settlement

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Walmart workers asked a California judge to okay a revised $2.25 million overtime settlement.

Santa Clara, CAOver 1,700 Walmart employees last month asked a California federal judge to approved a revamped $2.25 million unpaid overtime settlement. The proposed California labor class action was revised to base the class members' payouts on total earnings rather than weeks worked.

In a motion for preliminary approval, the Walmart workers said that they had corrected the deficiencies the court pointed out in its Sept. 25 order denying their first motion to approve the deal, reported Law360. Further, the court had found that the initial allocation method would unfairly compensate part-time employees at the expense of full-time employees. The USA Herald wrote that the court had previously shot down the workers initial motion, emphasizing a skewed compensation structure favoring part-time employees. The initial method relied on weeks worked rather than hours, an approach deemed unfair to full-time counterparts.

Last August, a previous motion for approval said the proposed PAGA penalties were $100,000 and settlement administration costs were estimated at over $27,000. This revised motion is a “significant recovery”, with 516 workers out of 1,715 total class members to potentially receive at least $1,000 in back wages and damages, which represents 67 hours of pay.

Out of the 1,715 total class members, the workers noted 516 of them — roughly 30% of the class — are expected to receive at least $1,000 in back wages and damages, representing 67 hours of pay, which they said in Monday's renewed motion is a significant recovery. As well, plaintiffs also asked that the court approve $750,000 in attorney fees and a $20,000 incentive award for plaintiff Juan Garcia for his time and effort and risk over the last eight years.

Juan Garcia v. Walmart

Walmart worker Juan Garcia initiated a proposed class action in the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino back in May 2016. According to court documents, Garcia alleged that Walmart did not provide a second meal break when he worked more than 10 hours in a shift. In April 2017, the court granted Walmart’s motion to dismiss, finding that “Plaintiff provided no example where he was due a meal period but was discouraged or dissuaded from taking it or instances where Defendant obtained an invalid meal break waiver.”

Garcia claims that:
  • Defendant failed to provide Plaintiff and class members any opportunity to take a second meal period on virtually all [Alternative Workweek Schedule] shifts of 10 or more hours. (There are approximately 8 shifts Plaintiff worked in excess of 10 hours.)
  • On said shifts, Plaintiff was not provided a second 30-minute meal nor did he voluntarily waive it.
  • Defendant failed to obtain Plaintiff’s signature on any lawful meal break waivers.
  • Defendant scheduled its [Alternative Workweek Schedule] shifts in such a manner that Plaintiff and class members did not have the opportunity to take a second meal break when they worked shifts in excess of ten hours. 
  • Defendant has implemented and documented a policy essentially stating that Logistics Employees are eligible for only one 30-minute meal break on shifts of 10 or more hours. Such policy confirms the corporatewide policy of denying Logistics Employees the opportunity to take a second meal period.

Walmart Unpaid Overtime

Walmart has a long track record of unpaid overtime complaints – and settlements. Here are a few examples:

December 2022:  A federal jury found that between 1994 and 1999 Walmart forced employees in Oregon to work unpaid overtime. More than 400 employees from 24 of Walmart's 27 Oregon stores accused the the world's largest retailer of violating federal and state wage laws, reported CBS News. The lawsuit claimed managers got employees to work off the clock by asking them to clean up the store after they had clocked out and by deleting hours from time records.

2016: A federal jury ruled that Walmart intentionally failed to pay hundreds of truck drivers in California the minimum wage. The jury in this wage theft lawsuit awarded the workers $54 million in damages. According to one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, the retailer could wind up owing the truck drivers $150million, as reported by the Fresno Bee,

May 2012: Reuters reported that Walmart agreed to pay $4.8 million in back wages and damages to thousands of employees for unpaid overtime after a probe by the U.S. Department of Labor found that the retailer had violated a federal law governing overtime pay. The Labor Department determined that Walmart failed to pay overtime to certain employees, considering them to be exempt from overtime requirements, when they were in fact not exempt. It will also pay $463,815 in civil fines.

On its website, Walmart states the following (but doesn’t always follow through):

"We are committed to complying fully with all applicable laws and regulations dealing with wage and hour issues, including off-the-clock work, rest breaks, meal periods and days of rest, overtime pay, termination pay, minimum-wage requirements, wages and hours of minors and other subjects related to wage and hour practices… It is a violation of Walmart policy for you to work without compensation or for a supervisor (hourly or salaried) to request you work without compensation. You should never perform any work for Walmart without compensation."

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer. The $218 billion company employs 1 million workers in 3,250 stores in the U.S alone. As of 2024, about 39 other class-action lawsuits are pending against the company in 30 states. Those suits, from California to New York, involve hundreds of thousands of workers seeking tens of millions in back pay. Previously, Walmart settled two similar overtime cases in Colorado and New Mexico.


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I always shop at Walmart


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