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Wal-Mart to pay workers $640M


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POSTED: Thursday, December 25, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. » Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said it will pay as much as $640 million to settle 63 lawsuits over wage-and-hour violations, ending years of dispute.

The discount retailer, which has more than 1.4 million employees, said the amount it pays will depend on how many claims are submitted by eligible workers and could range from $352 million to $640 million.

The agreement the company announced Tuesday ends the vast majority of such cases against Wal-Mart. Each settlement still must be approved by a trial court.

Wal-Mart faced 76 similar class action lawsuits in courts across the country as of March 31, the company said in its most recent 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based company said many of the settled lawsuits were filed years ago and the allegations are not representative of the company Wal-Mart is today.

“;Our policy is to pay associates for every hour worked and to provide rest and meal breaks,”; Tom Mars, Wal-Mart's executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.