Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Wal-Mart is evil

Do you need another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart? Here's a good one:

Lawyers representing about 116,000 former and current Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees in California told a jury Monday that the world's largest retailer systematically and illegally denied workers lunch breaks.

The suit in Alameda County Superior Court is among about 40 cases nationwide alleging workplace violations against Wal-Mart, and the first to go to trial. Wal-Mart, which earned $10 billion last year, settled a lawsuit in Colorado for $50 million that contains similar allegations to California's class action. The company also is accused of paying men more than women in a federal lawsuit pending in San Francisco federal court.

The workers in the class-action suit are owed more than $66 million plus interest, attorney Fred Furth told the 12 jurors and four alternates...

The case concerns a 2001 state law, which is among the nation's most worker friendly. Employees who work at least six hours must have a 30-minute, unpaid lunch break. If they do not get that, the law requires they are paid for an additional hour of pay.

The lawsuit covers former and current employees in California from 2001 to 2005.

Wal-Mart declined to give an opening statement, reserving its right to give one later. Its lawyers also declined comment.

Shop as you will. But know that this is the kind of thing you're supporting when you shop at Wal-Mart.

For more information, go to Wal-Mart Watch, an excellent watchdog group that challenges Wal-Mart on every front.

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