More labor woes pile on for Wal-Mart, the company that has more lawsuits than Imelda Marcos has shoes. The Indianapolis Star reported August 25th that a hearing date has been set in Marion County Superior Court next December to determine if a lawsuit filed by Wal-Mart workers in Indiana will become a class action lawsuit, which could involve as many as 166,000 current and former workers. According to the Star, similar lawsuits have been filed in 28 states. The Indiana workers filed their suit in 2000, charging that Wal-Mart forced them to work “off the clock”, failed to give them rest breaks or meal breaks, locked them into stores during work hours and would not allow them to leave. One worker has charged that one night he received a call at work that his mother had had a stroke, but he was forced to keep working at Wal-Mart because no one had a key to unlock the store to let him out. Wal-Mart apparently locks its stores that aren’t open all night to prevent thefts, but workers claim they are locked in also. Another cashier testified that she was asked to clock out, and then return to count out her cash drawer on her own time. The Star says that Wal-Mart settled lawsuits in Colorado and New Mexico already. The Indiana workers are seeking back wages plus interest on all unpaid wages from the time the money should have been paid. Indiana labor lawyer Bill Groth told the Star Wal-Mart keeps prices down by keeping wages down and fighting unionization. He said Wal-Mart “has a reputation of not paying workers a living wage.”
For more stories on Wal-Mart cutting its labor costs, search this database by “employees”. See also the story titled “time bandits”.