Everyone is equal - even Wal-Mart

Oct 08 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Now, it's not that I don't like what we fondly refer to in America as "big box" stores, but I don't like to see the people who makes the least amount of money get screwed out of their already meager earnings.

That's why I was so pleased to read a Common Pleas judge in Pennsylvania say that "the law in its majesty applies equally to highly paid executives and minimum wage clerks." And I'm willing to wager that most Americans would surmise that this also has something to do with Wal-Mart.

No stranger to legal troubles, employees in Pennsylvania recently won an amazing $78.5 million in back pay for hours worked, but not paid. As noted here on MSNBC, a judge further awarded $62.3 million in damages against the employer.

Whether or not Wal-Mart gets the message remains to be seen. But I think it's safe to say that the answer is an emphatic "NO". Why so? Well, let's review states where they are currently in litigation or have been sued in the past: that's Pennsylvania, California, Colorado and Minnesota.

What's really offensive here is Wal-Mart's argument that (sit tight for this one), "some people chose to work through breaks or that the few minutes of occasional extra work were insignificant."

Yes, I guess it's well known that those on the lower end of the pay scale love nothing more than to do some pro bono work after their standard working day.

Wal-Mart needs to start paying its employees everything to which they're entitled and stop hiding behind the argument that they pay well. Paying someone $9/hour in the Washington DC area is still the local equivalent of the minimum wage Ė and to make the national minimum wage in the nation's capital means that you're going to be living under a bridge.

Perhaps it's also time for Americans to get over their love affair with cheap crap and start supporting Wal-Mart employees.