Having said that, I really think Wal-Mart doesn’t do its image any favors when stories like this come out:
OAKLAND, California (AP) -- A California jury on Thursday awarded $172 million to thousands of employees at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. who claimed they were illegally denied lunch breaks.Wal-Mart spends millions of dollars on advertising designed solely to bolster its image and then does things like this that renders the ad money wasted. Can’t you Wal-Mart guys turn off the efficiency machine a little bit when it comes to your employees? Must every last penny be squeezed out of the operation? At some point this becomes self-defeating. The lunch money can’t be worth the bad PR and legal costs.
The world's largest retailer was ordered to pay $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages to about 116,000 current and former California employees for violating a 2001 state law that requires employers to give 30-minute, unpaid lunch breaks to employees who work at least six hours.
The class-action lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court is one of about 40 nationwide alleging workplace violations by Wal-Mart, and the first to go to trial. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, which earned $10 billion last year, settled a similar lawsuit in Colorado for $50 million.
In the California lunch-break suit, Wal-Mart claimed that workers did not demand penalty wages on a timely basis. Under the law, the company must pay workers a full hour's wages for every missed lunch.