BENTONVILLE, Ark., December 23, 2008 -- Today Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and attorneys for the plaintiffs jointly announced the settlement of 63 wage and hour class action lawsuits that have been pending against the company for several years.
Each of the settlements is subject to approval by the trial court, and the total amount to be paid will depend on the amount of claims that are submitted by class members. Under the agreements, the total will be at least $352 million, but no more than $640 million. Also, as part of the settlements, Walmart has agreed to continue to use various electronic systems and other measures designed to maintain compliance with its wage and hour policies and applicable law.
As a result of the settlement, the company will record an after-tax charge to continuing operations in its fiscal fourth quarter of approximately $250 million, or approximately $0.06 on earnings per share.
“Resolving this litigation is in the best interest of our company, our shareholders and our associates,” said Tom Mars, executive vice president and general counsel, Walmart “Many of these lawsuits were filed years ago and the allegations are not representative of the company we are today.”
Mars continued, “Our policy is to pay associates for every hour worked and to provide rest and meal breaks. This is a commitment we make to the more than 1.4 million associates who choose to work for Walmart and serve our customers and members every day. We have worked hard to have the right communication, processes and systems in place to help us live up to this commitment.”
The cases covered by these settlements were brought by several different groups of plaintiffs’ counsel. Frank Azar of the law firm of Franklin D. Azar & Associates, P.C., co-lead counsel in fourteen states, said, “We are pleased with this settlement and believe it is fair and reasonable for our clients. We are equally pleased that Walmart has made tremendous strides in wage and hour compliance and that it has implemented and agreed to continue to follow state of the art compliance programs so that these improvements will continue into the future. We hope Walmart’s compliance programs will serve as an example to other major retailers.”
Carolyn Burton of the Mills Law Firm, co-lead counsel in a group of 35 cases consolidated in Nevada and cases covering four other states said, “After many years of hard fought litigation, the parties have reached an agreement that values the work of Walmart’s employees by providing both economic and injunctive relief.” Her co-counsel, Robert Bonsignore of Bonsignore and Brewer added, “As a result of this settlement, Walmart can now say that it has taken action to make its stores a great place to shop and work.”
NOTE: A full list of the cases covered by these settlements is available at: http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/8874.aspx
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Walmart operates Walmart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom and, through a joint venture, in India. The Company's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.
Contact for Walmart:
Walmart Media Relations
Walmart Investor Relations
Carol Schumacher: 479-277-1498
Mike Beckstead: 479-277-9558
Contact for Plaintiffs:
Franklin D. Azar, Esq.
Nathan J. Axvig, Esq.
Franklin D. Azar and Associates, P.C.
firstname.lastname@example.org (for Mr. Azar)
Carolyn Beasley Burton, Esq.
The Mills Law Firm
Robert J. Bonsignore, Esq.
Bonsignore & Brewer