Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, will pay as much as $85 million to settle 30 lawsuits claiming the company didn’t pay employees for all hours worked. The settlement covers cases filed in federal courts in 29 states and Puerto Rico. The settlement, which is part of a global $640 million resolution of wage-and-hour claims reached between Wal-Mart and workers in December, has received preliminary court approval. The settlement is “fair, reasonable, and adequate,” U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro said in granting tentative approval, adding that the agreement was a “hard-fought compromise of claims that have been actively litigated before this court” since February 2006.
The suits claimed that Wal-Mart violated wage and hours laws by denying workers’ rest breaks and manipulated time cards to “shave” their pay. The suits were filed as class actions, or group lawsuits, on behalf of all hourly workers in the individual states, including Alabama, Michigan, Maryland, Oregon and Texas. The lawsuits are combined in the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas).