As regular readers know, I've been following the progress of some of the (many) class action, discrimination, negligence, and damage suits filed against Wal-mart. (For background on the company if you don't know what WM is, or shits-and-giggles if you do, read TMiss' brilliant tirade tearing a new one for a WM apologist of the most fawning kind.) Well, one of them was just decided, and like all the others, Wal-mart lost.
A judge has ruled against Wal-Mart in a class-action lawsuit, saying the discount retailer violated state labor laws more than 2 million times, including cutting worker break time and "willfully" allowing employees to work off the clock.
I just want to stop here for a moment to give you time to absorb and process what that number means.
Wal-Mart broke the law 2 MILLION times. 2 MILLION times the richest corporation in the world cheated its already underpaid workers out of money they had earned and ordered some of them to work for free or else lose their jobs. 2 MILLION times.
OK, now we can go on, I just wanted to make sure you had that firm in your mind as you recall all those WM spokesperson/apologists claiming they didn't do it, and if they did do it, it was just a few rotten-apple managers and certainly not corporate policy. For the record:
IT COULD NEVER NEVER NEVER HAVE HAPPENED 2 MILLION TIMES UNLESS IT WAS CORPORATE POLICY. Period.
Ready? Cause here comes conscienceless WM mouthpiece Daphne Moore. (Try not to let the top of your head explode. Putting both hands firmly on the crown and pressing down usually helps me.)
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Daphne Moore said Tuesday that the Bentonville, Ark.-based company disagrees with portions of the judge's decision and is considering an appeal.
"Our policy is to pay every associate for every hour worked and to make rest or meal breaks available to every employee," Moore said, adding that many Wal-Mart employees who testified during the trial said they were getting breaks and being paid properly.
"That said, we're always going to take seriously any sort of allegations of our policy not being followed," she said.
How's the top of your head doing? Still there? Good. You were lucky this time. Don't push it. Here. Take this every hour. It should help:
Dakota County Judge Robert King Jr. on Monday ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to pay $6.5 million in compensatory damages [Peanuts for a $$$400BIL company], but Wal-Mart could end up paying more than $2 billion after a jury in October considers civil penalties and punitive damages. [That's better. That's much better.]
"We believe that this award not only helps the individual clients, but it also sends a message to Wal-Mart that it has to pay for its mistakes," said Justin Perl, an attorney representing the former Wal-Mart employees named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
They're actually going to pay serious bucks this time for the incredible scope of their law-breaking. Not enough but enough to hurt.
Here's what I'm hoping: I'm hoping the hapless managers they decide to scapegoat for this loss get fired and sue them, then go to court to explain how directives came from the head office ordering them to shave hours and turn their workers into free-time slaves. That's what I'm hoping.
*sigh* That would be worth waiting up for.