Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 10:02 AM

Hit Me Baby One More Time: Wal-Mart Slapped with Yet Another FLSA Overtime Suit

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ("Wal-Mart") continues to fend off legal attacks from current and former employees for alleged violations of various employment and labor laws. This month, former inventory specialist Rita Hinesman filed a complaint alleging Wal-Mart failed to pay overtime pay for employees and proposing a class action to address these violations. The lawsuit, Hinesman v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., case number 1:08-cv-0779 filed in N.D.Ga on March 5th, alleges a variety of ways in which the company through its managers and supervisors manipulated employee's time to eliminate overtime and even pay in some cases.

Hinesman alleges that Wal-Mart managers and supervisors were directed by the company (or the company knew of this practice) to delete overtime hours of employees, deleted employee punches, altered time records to include meal periods that weren't taken and deducted time for breaks. Hinesman worked for Wal-Mart for approximately 25 months and alleges that these violations occurred on multiple occasions.

The complaint alleges that these practices occurred as a result of incentives by the company rewarding supervisors and managers who reduced employee payroll and overtime to manage costs. Wal-Mart has aggressively fought prior lawsuits asserting various challenges to its overtime and payroll practices, frequently arguing that its employees do not follow company policy and the alleged work for which the employees weren't paid did not occur.

The suits against Wal-Mart often assert that "company culture" and its associated incentive pay for employees in positions having access to time records and payroll procedures permits unlawful activities to occur. They are a good reminder to employers to review their payroll and timekeeping practices to ensure independence of functions to the extent possible.


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