Wal-Mart to pay overtime violations
In 2005, the company asked for a review of its overtime calculations.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay more than 33 million in back wages to thousands of employees after turning itself in to the Labor Department for paying too little in overtime over the past five years, according to an agreement announced Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department.
Wal-Mart said the department's review of its overtime calculations also found it had overpaid about 215,000 hourly workers during the same five-year period. The company said it will not seek to recover any overpayments, which were at least 20 per worker.
Asks for review
Steven Mandel, associate solicitor in the Labor Department's Fair Labor Standards Division, said the case -- involving nearly 87,000 employees -- resulted from Wal-Mart coming to the department in early 2005 and asking for a review of its overtime calculations.
"They had some concern that some of the practices were not in compliance" with federal wage laws, he told a conference call for reporters
"It's not particularly unusual for an employer to come to us and talk to us about potential payroll violations," Mandel said.
But Mandel said the overtime settlement was one of the largest ever reached by the department's wage and hour division.
Wal-Mart said the settlement includes no fines or penalties and that it has adopted measures to prevent the errors from occurring again.
"The fact of the matter is we discovered this matter, we reported it to the Department of Labor and we resolved the issue," Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley said.
Simley said Wal-Mart discovered possible mistakes in its formulas for overtime during a regular internal review. He said there was no connection between the company reporting itself to the Labor Department and multiple lawsuits against the retailer in recent years by employees alleging payroll violations.