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$54M in Damages Awarded to Walmart Truckers

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Last month, a federal jury found Walmart guilty of intentionally failing to pay the minimum wage to California truck drivers for tasks like washing and inspecting their vehicles. The jury awarded $54 million in damages to the drivers. The lawsuit also accused the retail chain of inadequate compensation for layovers:

More than 800 drivers who worked for Walmart between October 2005 and October 2015 sought $72 million in damages, the bulk of it for layovers when they say they are required to stay with their trucks.
Their attorneys said at trial that additional damages and penalties could push the total Wal-Mart owed to more than $150 million. A judge will determine civil penalties.

The verdict is a big win for California drivers, and it leaves the retail chain vulnerable to additional penalties, according to the Associated Press:

“The facts in the law clearly show that these drivers were not paid for all the duties they did, like the pre-and post-trip inspections, and they were not paid for their rest breaks,” said Butch Wagner, attorney for the drivers.

Gould said the jury’s decision should act as a worry to corporate goliaths:

“Any time a corporation in the public eye, as Walmart is, is found to have engaged in labor law violations, that’s going to send a message to both the public and to employees and it’s going to be a strong deterrent to future misconduct,” said Gould, who also served as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board in the 1990s.

Walmart has said they will appeal, if necessary. This is, of course, not their first run-in of this nature. Earlier this year they paid $187 million for not granted workers mandatory breaks.


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