Court Revives Labor Class Action Against Wal-Mart

     BOSTON (CN) – The Massachusetts Supreme Court recertified a class action accusing Wal-Mart of forcing employees to work off the clock, denying meal breaks and failing to pay overtime and minimum wage. The court vacated a superior court judge’s order to decertify a class of about 67,500 current and former Wal-Mart hourly employees who worked at 47 Wal-Mart stores in Massachusetts.

     The judge made “several errors of law” in decertifying the class, the high court ruled. Concluding that the plaintiffs lacked reliable corporate records proving liability, the judge required them to include “testimony from witnesses representative of the different positions held in each of the 47 Massachusetts stores covering the entire class period who could make the case of violations experienced by all class members.”
     The state Supreme Court disagreed with this standard of proof.
     “In this case,” Justice Marshall wrote, “the burden the judge imposed on the plaintiffs would be both onerous and unproductive in light of overwhelming evidence that all of the class members – people who staff the grill counter, receivers, cashiers, and so on – were subject to the identical terms and conditions regarding breaks and off-the-clock work, which (according to company policy) were to be followed stringently.”

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