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Walmart Agrees to $5 Million Settlement of Jobs Suit

By Andrew M. Harris
August 17, 2009

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed to pay $5 million to settlement a lawsuit filed by hourly wage employees accusing the world's largest retailer of failing to make profit-sharing and retirement-plan contributions.

The accord resolves a 2007 lawsuit filed by a Walmart worker in Philadelphia, Robert J. King, who accused the company of engaging in "time shaving," reducing the number of counted hours an employee worked and by so doing, lowering the amount of wage-based money it had to contribute to the plans.

King's lawsuit, which sought class-action, or group, status on behalf of all similarly situated Walmart workers from February 1997 through May 2009, was later transferred to Nevada federal court where other, similar cases were pending.

"Walmart was required to make employer contributions for the wage amounts that Walmart should have paid, but did not pay," according to a statement from plantiffs' law firm Berger & Montague PC announcing the settlement.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company in May won preliminary approval to spend as much as $85 million to resolve 30 related cases also pending in the Nevada court, accusing it of failing to pay workers for all of the time they worked.

Walmart admitted no liability, account to Berger & Montague's statement.

Company spokeswoman Daphne Davis Moore confirmed the terms of the agreement in a telephone interview. She declined to comment further, referring instead to a December 2008 company statement, which said of similar suits, "the allegations are not representative of the company we are today."

The retirement-benefit agreement still requires court approval. A hearing has been set for Oct. 19 before U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro in Las Vegas.

Seattle-based Keller Rohrback LLP and Philadelphia's Law Office of Ann Miller jointly issued the announcement with Philadelphia-based Berger & Montague.

The case is King v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 07cv1709, in the District of Nevada (Las Vegas).

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