Wal-Mart Sued for Failing to Pay Wages and Provide Breaks
Retail giant Wal-Mart is being sued by a group of former employee pharmacists who say they were required to work outside the stores but were not paid for that work. In an amended complaint filed a few weeks ago, the former employees argue that they were required to study and take immunization training at home but were not paid for that time.
“Wal-Mart pressured pharmacists to attend and complete the training course in a variety of ways that relayed to plaintiffs and putative class members it was not voluntary,” their amended complaint said.
“Wal-Mart made clear to plaintiffs and putative class members they were required to attend and complete the only Wal-Mart approved training course in order to be immunization certified,” the plaintiffs said. If they didn’t take the course, they said they risked suffering “the consequences which included, but was not limited to, cut hours, transfer to another store, not be considered a team player, and poor performance reviews which could lead to termination.”
Additionally, some of the former pharmacists allege that they were barred from taking breaks.
“While Wal-Mart has a uniform written policy to provide rest breaks to pharmacist employees, Wal-Mart’s scheduling practices and other pharmacy policies act to prevent and discourage plaintiffs and putative class members from taking rest breaks,” says the allegations. The amended complaint explained that there are generally just one or two Wal-Mart pharmacists at a store at a time, and they work in staggered shifts that force pharmacists to work alone for hours at a time. Because Wal-Mart also evaluates pharmacists’ work performance based on the number of prescriptions they fill and the time it takes to fill them, they argue that it effectively makes taking a rest break impossible.
State and federal law requires employers to pay hourly employees for all hours the employees are required to work. Similar laws require employers to allow all employees to take meal and rest breaks. Failure to adhere to such laws can result in significant penalties against the employers and court awards for the employees.
We represent employees who have not been paid wages for all hours worked and employees who have not been allowed to take meal breaks and rest breaks. Contact us today.
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Joshua Newville is an attorney and mediator based in Minnesota. He litigates employment and civil rights cases, serves as a mediator for civil disputes, and provides employment law advice.