Minnesota to get $14 million from Wal-Mart settlement

  • Updated: January 14, 2009 - 11:10 PM

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry will receive $14 million as part of a settlement between Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and state workers who sued the world's biggest retailer over not paying them for all hours they had worked.

Wal-Mart won preliminary court approval on Tuesday to pay $54.3 million to settle the lawsuit.

"The settlement allows recovery on points where the court ruled against the plaintiffs," workers' attorney Justin Perl said in a hearing Wednesday urging approval. "We believe the terms of the payment to the Department of Labor and Industry is the largest payment [of its kind] in Minnesota history," he said.

The Minnesota hourly workers said Wal-Mart forced them to work off-the-clock in training and denied full rest or meal breaks in violation of state wage-and-hour laws. In the first phase of the case, Dakota County District Judge Robert King Jr. ruled July 1, following a nonjury trial, that Wal-Mart broke labor laws more than 2 million times and ordered the retailer to give employees $6.5 million in back pay.

The lawsuit was settled last month, averting a trial where a jury would have been asked to order Wal-Mart to pay as much as $2 billion for the labor law violations.

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