Minnesota women in Wal-Mart suit to seek class action status
HASTINGS, Minn. -- Lawyers representing four women suing Wal-Mart for unpaid overtime will ask a Dakota County district judge today to certify their lawsuit as a class action on behalf of 63,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees in Minnesota.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs estimate that Wal-Mart workers in Minnesota lost tens of millions of dollars in wages and 500,000 hours of breaks per year since 1998.
The lawsuit was filed a year ago on behalf of Debbie Simonson, Nancy Braun, Cindy Severson and Pamela Reinert. The plaintiffs contend employees were forced to work without pay so Wal-Mart could meet its profit and productivity goals.
Simonson said she was asked to straighten up her area of the Wal-Mart store in Brooklyn Park "off the clock" before beginning her shifts and after signing out for the day when she worked there in 2000 and 2001. Simonson said she passed out promotional items to customers, assembled candy bags and cleared carts from the parking lot without being paid for that work.
Simonson also alleged that she usually didn't get meal or rest breaks. She complained to higher-ups but nothing changed.
Similar complaints against the nation's largest retailer are at issue in lawsuits filed across the country by Wal-Mart employees.
Wal-Mart is opposing the Minnesota motion for class certification.