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Retail giant Wal-Mart was hit with a $185 Million verdict in favor of employees who worked “off the clock.” The class of employees involved in the lawsuit alleged that Wal-Mart maintained a national policy of preventing employees from using their break and lunch time but subtracting that time from their paychecks. The jury found that the policy violated the workers’ rights by causing them to work overtime without receiving overtime pay. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires an employer to pay its non-exempt employees one and one half times their normal rate of pay, or “time and a half”, for all hours worked above forty in a work week. By failing to include the hours actually worked by its employers in their paycheck, Wal-Mart attempted to save nearly fifty million dollars in mandatory overtime pay. During the case, the employees presented evidence that Wal-Mart actually stopped recording break times for its employees after several employees filed lawsuits alleging that the retailer was taking time from their checks for breaks that they never took. The jury considered this as evidence that Wal-mart acted intentionally in attempting to circumvent federal overtime laws.

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