Wal-Mart, whose stores can be found all over the Indianapolis area, has been ordered to pay more than $4.8 million in back wages to its workers nationwide. It had been found in the wage and hour claims that Wal-Mart was in violation of various overtime provisions that are a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
This figure came about due to a settlement of Wal-Mart with the U.S. Department of Labor. There were also a number of civil penalties tacked on to this settlement due to the repeat nature of such violations.
Though compensating employees for such back pay is a positive, it should be remembered that workers should not be placed in such a position to have to retain attorneys and file lawsuits to begin with. While workers were being underpaid, they would have had to borrow money from banks or other creditors to make up for the difference and have been subjected to paying back interest.
Determining how much such workers should be compensated in wage and hour disputes can vary from worker to worker, and the final agreed to amount should be based on more than a formula that accountants for the corporation have created. Every wage and hour claim is singular and deserves individual attention.
What really needs to be remembered is that such wage and hour claims can also send a message to other corporations that are trying to avoid complying with state and federal wage requirements. Such lawsuits bring attention on a problem concerning workers being taken advantage of at their place of employment.
Source: Business Insurance, “Wal-Mart to pay $4.8M in back wages for violations of Fair Labor Standards Act,” by Judy Greenwald, May 2, 2012