Temp workers file class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart over wages
BY ALLISON HORTON AND MICHAEL LANSU Staff Reporters October 22, 2012 5:08PM
A new Walmart would serve as an anchor store for The Touhy Marketplace, a shopping center proposed for the southeast side of Skokie. An existing Walmart also on Touhy in Niles would remain in operation. | Mike Isaacs~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 24, 2012 6:18AM
Wal-Mart and its staffing agencies failed to follow federal minimum wage and overtime laws when they required temporary workers to appear early for work, stay late to complete work and work through lunches and breaks, according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed Monday.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, claims staff agencies Labor Ready-Midwest Inc. and QPS Employment Group Inc. failed to provide workers assigned to work at Wal-Mart stores employment and proper wage payment notices that are required by the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act.
Wal-Mart also failed to keep accurate records of workers’ time as required by federal and state law and has failed to provide workers with forms verifying hours worked, the suit said.
The suit claims Wal-Mart and its staffing agencies also failed to pay workers a minimum of four hours pay on days when they were contracted to work, but not utilized for a minimum of four hours, which is required under state law.
Wal-Mart and its staffing agencies also failed to pay minimum wage for all time the employees worked, which included participating in trainings without compensation, appearing early for work, staying late to complete work, and working through lunches and breaks, the suit said.
Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman said the company is still reviewing the complaint, but the lawsuit mischaracterizes the issues.
“This litigation is being driven by the same union organizations that have been mischaracterizing several issues about Wal-Mart, and are more concerned about creating publicity than with improving workers’ rights,” Fogleman said. “We are committed to ensuring that anyone working in our stores, whether they are employed by Wal-Mart, or in this case a temporary staffing agency, is treated appropriately and compensated fairly for every hour they work.”
The suit claims the state and federal violations have occurred since October 2009.
The 13-count suit claims violations of the Fair Labor Standards, Illinois Wage Payment and Collection, and Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services acts. It also claims a violation of the Illinois Minimum Wage Law.
The suit seeks all unpaid wages for the workers and an injunction preventing Wal-Mart and its staffing agencies from future violations of state labor laws. The suit also seeks unspecified damages, attorney fees and other court costs.
A spokesperson for Labor Ready-Midwest were not immediately available for comment. Anne Jabusch, spokeswoman for QPS Employment, said the company was reviewing the matter and could not comment.