NEW YORK – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is being slapped with a lawsuit that claims the worlds largest retailer and its staffing agencies broke federal minimum wage and overtime laws by requiring temporary workers to appear early for work, stay late to complete work and work through lunches and breaks without compensation.
According to the class-action suit filed Monday in federal court in Illinois, Labor Ready and QPS, two of the temporary staffing agencies that Wal-Mart used in the Chicago area, failed to provide workers assigned to the Wal-Mart stores with required employment data.
The suit also claims that Wal-Mart itself failed to keep accurate records of workers time. That has made it difficult for workers to make claims that they were not paid by the temporary agencies for all hours worked.
The suit also claims that the discounter and its staffing agencies failed to pay the plaintiffs and others in similar situations a minimum of four hours pay on days when they were contracted for work, but not used for a minimum of four hours as required by Illinois law. That prevented the workers from looking for other jobs.
I only get paid minimum wage and yet Labor Ready and Wal-Mart still try to cheat me by not paying me for the time I actually work, said Twanda Burk, the primary plaintiff on the lawsuit. According to the suit, the alleged violations occurred beginning in early 2009 and continue to the present time.
The suit seeks all unpaid wages for the workers and calls for an injunction against Wal-Mart and its temporary agencies preventing them from future violations of state labor laws.
Neither Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., nor Labor Ready immediately responded to requests for comment. Diane Gadzalinski, QPS director of human resources, said she is reviewing the matter.