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Wal-Mart ordered to pay $78 million for denying employees rest breaks

[JURIST] A Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas [official website] jury issued a $78.47 million verdict against retailer Wal-Mart [corporate website; JURIST news archive] Friday, awarding damages to plaintiffs on behalf of current and former Pennsylvania employees for work during rest breaks and off-the-clock labor. Wal-Mart prevailed on a third count which alleged that the company had denied meal breaks to the plaintiffs. Wal-Mart attorney Neal Manne [profile] said Wal-Mart will appeal the verdict, but has not provided any details regarding the grounds for appeal.

Observers have suggested that Wal-Mart may have to reconsider its defense strategy in similar future actions in the wake of this judgment as well as last year's $172 million damage award against the company [Jenner & Block client advisory] in a California employment suit. Wal-Mart's current strategy is to answer such complaints with denials that it engages in the alleged wrongful practice. Reuters has more.

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