Employment Law

Wal-Mart Employment Practices

Result: $35 million settlement plus injunction to prevent wage and hour violations
Year: 2008

Barnett v. Wal-Mart

The Court approved in July 2009 to a settlement valued at up to $35 million on behalf of workers in Washington State who alleged they were deprived of meal and rest breaks and forced to work off-the-clock at Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Clubs.

In addition to monetary relief, the settlement provided injunctive relief benefiting all employees. Wal-Mart was required to undertake measures to prevent wage and hour violations at its 50 stores and clubs in Washington, measures that included the use of new technologies and compliance tools.

Plaintiffs filed their complaint in 2001. Three years later, the Court certified a class of approximately 40,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees. The eight years of litigation were intense and adversarial. Wal-Mart, currently the world’s third largest corporation, vigorously denied liability and spared no expense in defending itself.

This lawsuit and similar actions filed against Wal-Mart across America served to reform the pay procedures and employment practices for Wal-Mart’s 1.4 million employees nationwide. In a press release announcing the Court’s approval of the settlement, Wal-Mart spokesperson Daphne Moore stated, “This lawsuit was filed years ago and the allegations are not representative of the company we are today.” Lieff Cabraser served as court-appointed Co-Lead Class Counsel.