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Workers Win $40 Million from Wal-Mart over Violations of Massachusetts Labor Law

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Boston, MAA group of employees who challenged big-box retailer Wal-Mart over violations of Massachusetts Labor Law have won a $40 million settlement, representing the largest wage-and-hour class-action settlement in the Bay State's history.

Filed in 2001, the case accused Wal-Mart of patternized breaches of employee protocol, including altering time cards, refusing to pay overtime and denying rest and meal breaks. The monumental settlement, which was filed on behalf of all Massachusetts Wal-Mart employees since August 1995, entitles employees affected by these practices to between $400 and $2,500 in back pay. The Boston Globe reports that most employees received a check for $734.

"For many employers, this settlement will serve as a reminder to take the payment of earned wages and benefits seriously," writes Philip Gordon, lead counsel for the employees, in an affidavit cited by the Globe. "But most importantly, for employees of Wal-Mart, it finally pays them their earned wages and it puts in place systems and processes to ensure that abuses like those alleged never happen again."

The case echoes similar allegations that have plagued Wal-Mart in locations across the country, leading the retailer to authorize payment of up to $640 million to settle 63 federal and state class-action suits related to wage-and-hour issues.

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