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UK: Wal-Mart to pay $4.8 million in back wagesThe Labor Department on Tuesday ordered Wal-Mart to pay $4.8 million in back wages and damages to thousands of employees who were denied overtime charges, the latest in a string of embarrassments for the company over its business practices.
The department said its decision affects roughly 4,500 vision-center managers and asset-protection coordinators who worked at Wal-Mart between 2004 and 2007. Wal-Mart had considered those employees exempt from federal regulations requiring overtime pay but reclassified them in 2007. The government and the retailer have been negotiating the amount owed since then.
"When the issues resolved today were initially raised, we took them seriously and fully cooperated with the Department of Labor to make sure they were corrected," Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said.
The company said asset-protection coordinators are entitled to receive an average of $290 under the agreement, while the average for vision center managers is $2,300. Wal-Mart was also fined $464,000 in civil penalties.
"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," Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said.
This was not the first time Wal-Mart has run afoul of federal overtime laws. In 2007, the Labor Department ordered it to pay nearly $34 million in back wages to 87,000 workers — some of whom were owed more than $10,000 each.
Publication date: 5/2/2012
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