$54 Million Verdict in Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart

Monday, December 5, 2016

On November 23, a federal jury in San Francisco found that Wal-Mart failed to pay hundreds of truck drivers in California the minimum wage and awarded the drivers $54 million in damages.  Civil penalties are to be determined by the judge.  

The lawsuit against Wal-Mart accused the retail giant of failing to properly pay the drivers for activities that included inspecting and washing their trucks and for layovers.  The retailer argued that truck drivers do not work during layovers. Jurors also found that Wal-Mart failed to provide rest breaks to its drivers and failed to adequately compensate them for federally mandated layover breaks.

Wal-Mart drivers do not get paid by the hour.  The retailer pays its drivers based on mileage and specified activities in a piece-rate compensation system.   The non-driving tasks at issue included time spent filling out federally mandated trip slips, routine maintenance and sitting through inspections.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs were seeking $72 million in damages, the bulk of it for layovers. They said during trial that additional damages and penalties could push the total that Wal-Mart owed to more than $150 million. Wal-mart has said that it will appeal the decision.

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