Friday, December 20, 2002

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, forced employees to work unpaid overtime between 1994 and 1999, a federal jury found yesterday.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court accused Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of violating federal and state wage laws. The jury did not rule on monetary damages, which will be decided in a separate trial.
More than 400 employees from 24 of Wal-Mart’s 27 Oregon stores sued the retailer. It was the first of several similar suits across the country to come to trial.
Wal-Mart attorney Rudy Englund had no comment on the verdict and referred all questions to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
The suit was filed by Carolyn Thiebes and Betty Alderson, who worked in managerial positions at Wal-Mart stores in the Salem area.
The suit claimed managers got employees to work off the clock by asking them to clean up the store after they had clocked out and by deleting hours from time records.
It also said Wal-Mart reprimanded employees who claimed overtime. Workers felt forced to work after clocking out because managers assigned them more work than they could complete in a regular shift, the plaintiffs said.

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