Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wal-Mart to Employees: Let's Not Do Lunch

At this rate, Wal-Mart will be on the hook for another $6,880,000,000, or for the zeros-challenged, almost 7 billion (good thing the company makes $10 billion a year). Here's the details from the Associated Press:

The world's largest retailer was ordered to pay $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages to about 116,000 current and former California employees for violating a 2001 state law that requires employers to give 30-minute, unpaid lunch breaks to employees who work at least six hours.


The class-action lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court is one of about 40 nationwide alleging workplace violations by Wal-Mart, and the first to go to trial. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer, which earned $10 billion last year, settled a similar lawsuit in Colorado for $50 million.


"We absolutely disagree with their findings," attorney Neal Manne said of the jury's verdict. He conceded that Wal-Mart made mistakes in not always allowing for lunch breaks when the 2001 law took affect, but said the company is "100 percent" in compliance now.

I know that it's not in quotes so I might be maligning Mr. Manne and his client unfairly, but this is un-fricking-believable: Wal-Mart only thinks workers should have lunch breaks because a law says they have to give employees lunch breaks.

Which means if we were the NSA taping phone conversations between members of the wealthy but dastardly Walton clan, who are terrorists to those who simply want to make a buck, we might hear a snippet something like this:

"But do we have to pay the employees? Isn't there some way just to make them work?"

"Damn, if Dad only keep all the stores in the South, we might have gotten somewhere."

Don't miss this website for the Wal-Mart Foundation, too, which takes the Frankenstein monster language course to new heights with its motto "Wal-Mart Good. Works." I wish I made that up, but go check for yourself. Laugh. Good.


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