Wal-Mart Ordered to Pay Extra Damages in Penn. Worker Suit

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart workers in Pennsylvania who last year were awarded $78.5 million in a class action for working off the clock will now share an additional $62.3 million in damages, a judge ruled Wednesday.

About 125,000 people will receive $500 each in damages under a state law invoked when a company, without cause, withholds pay for more than 30 days, according to a Reuters report.

During the trial held in Philadelphia last year, Wal-Mart argued that some people chose to work through breaks.

There are similar suits charging that Wal-Mart violated state wage laws across the country.

A California trial ended with a $172 million verdict that Wal-Mart is appealing, while the company settled a Colorado suit for $50 million.

A trial opened last week in Minnesota, and suits are pending in New Jersey and several other states.

The Pennsylvania class-action suit involves 187,000 current and former employees who worked at Wal-Mart and Sam's Clubs from March 1998 through May 2006. The initial $78.5 million award represented the wages lost by those workers.

A smaller number -- about 125,000 -- qualified for the damage award Wednesday. The others were excluded by legal time limits and are seeking interest on the back wages.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman told Reuters the company discourages employees from working off the clock and disciplines managers who permit it.
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