FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #07-39
August 14, 2007

CONTACT:
Kate McGuire
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050


California Labor Commissioner reaches $3.9 million agreement
with Wal-Mart for unpaid wages to California workers

San Francisco—August 14, 2007—California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet announced that an agreement has been reached requiring Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to pay more than $3.9 million in overtime, waiting time penalties and interest to approximately 50,000 employees, and civil penalties to the state of California.

The settlement includes payment of waiting time penalties to employees for late payment of final wages. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, waiting time penalties will be provided to employees who are no longer working for Wal-Mart but left before receiving their overtime pay. Many of the employees have already received checks for overtime and interest, with remaining payments to be issued within 45 days, according to the agreement.

In addition, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $198,900 in civil penalties to the State of California. The payments affect all California workers who were employed by Wal-Mart from February 1, 2002 through January 19, 2007.

“On behalf of the 50,000 workers who were inadvertently underpaid overtime and other wages, we are pleased with this settlement,” said California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet. “We are ensuring that the workers are completely compensated what is owed to them in overtime and interest, and that penalties are provided for.”

Wal-Mart voluntarily notified the California State Labor Commissioner in early 2005 that errors in the company’s payroll processes led to the underpayment of overtime and other wages. It further said that it intended to correct the payroll calculation problem and pay all affected workers no matter how small the amount of underpayment. In some cases, the underpayments may amount to just a few dollars.

"As always, our goal is to encourage voluntary compliance with California labor laws," Bradstreet added. "By its actions in this case, Wal-Mart has set a positive example for other employers who may be out of compliance because it illustrates how they can work with us to properly compensate workers as well as meet legal requirements."

To learn more about the functions of the California Labor Commissioner, please visit our web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.

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