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Wal-Mart to pay $4.83 million in back wages

Washington - The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division announced yesterday that Wal-Mart Stores has agreed to pay $4.8 million in back wages and damages to more than 4,500 workers for failing to compensate them for overtime. Wal-Mart also will pay $463,815 in civil penalties.

The employees include current and former vision center managers and asset protection coordinators at Wal-Mart's discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Clubs. Wal-Mart had considered those positions exempt from overtime pay, according the Labor Department, which determined they were non-exempt.
"Misclassification of employees as exempt from FLSA coverage is a costly problem with adverse consequences for employees and corporations," said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. "Let this be a signal to other companies that when violations are found, the Labor Department will take appropriate action to ensure that workers receive the wages they have earned."
The department said Wal-Mart corrected its classification practices for the affected positions in 2007 and began negotiating at that time with Labor about redressing the issues. A third-party administrator will disburse the payments to the affected employees.
"Our department has been working with Wal-Mart for a long time to reach this agreement," said Nancy Leppink, deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. "I am very pleased that staff in our Southwest region persevered, ensured these employees will be paid the back wages they are owed and brought this case to conclusion."

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