The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal of lower court decisions that could mean $187 million in payments to thousands of Walmart and Sam’s Club workers in Pennsylvania who weren’t paid for work during lunch breaks.
The first decision in the case came from a jury in 2006.
Walmart fought the class action designation in the case. It argued that each worker should have to sue individually.
Wells Fargo similarly lost a bid to fight a class action over overdraft fees on credit cards. Two weeks ago, Tyson Foods also lost a fight against class action status for Iowa woekrs seeking pay for time spent donning and doffing safety clothing.
The labor-supported group Making Change at Walmart cheered the news today:
“Today, the highest court of the United States affirmed that Walmart workers have the right to be paid for every hour of hard work, not just the hours that Walmart wishes to acknowledge,” said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW. “Earlier this year, a labor board administrative law judge ruled in favor of Walmart workers who were unlawfully retaliated against for participating in strikes. The tide is turning in this country against Walmart.”
Levin added: “The world’s largest retailer won’t be able to continue to mistreat its workers and get away with it. Walmart workers, when they come together, have a powerful voice that cannot be silenced, and these recent rulings are a testament to the countless hours of work they do every day, as well as their commitment to being treated fairly and with respect.”
Walmart also issued a statement:
We are disappointed the Supreme Court decided not to review our case. While we continue to believe these claims should not be bundled together in a class-action lawsuit, we respect the court’s decision. We will now determine how we move forward in the trial court.
Most of these claims are over 10 years old. Walmart has had strong policies in place to make sure all associates receive their appropriate pay and break periods. We have taken additional steps over the last decade, including enhancing our timekeeping systems and additional training, to make sure all our associates understand the importance of those policies and comply with them.