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 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.

Older Comments

I don't agree with Wal-Mart not paying people for work that is done and not obeying the law. But I also don't agree with the idea of selectively targeting Wal-Mart when that type of behavior goes on everywhere.

I also don't hold much respect for people that take a job at Wal-Mart and then complain about the low pay, the poor benefits, the work environment, etc... It does not make sense why someone would take a job and then complain about it. If someone is not grateful for what they have, our great nation affords them the opportunity to change that by going somewhere else. They may have to work harder, longer or in worse conditions, but to expect to have their cake and eat it to is ridicules unless they are willing to take on the personal risks and become an entrepreneur and make their own cake!

IAW, my advice to those that consider themselves 'victim' to the Wal-Mart's of the world, would be to quit complaining and do something about their situation, leave and find something else but don't expect the government to step in and force the big bad company (with deep pockets) to pay or provide more.



Judging from your post, it appears that you're probably not in the category of people who would take a 'working poor' job or even need to take such a job. Unfortunately, the bills are due at the first of the month and everyone needs to work to pay them. Many of these people taking these jobs do so because there aren't other options.

It's also unrealistic to expect people to take a job and then complain about it because they should have known what they were getting in to at hire. Do you have 'no respect' for salespeople who are frequently on the road and lament about not seeing their children... or doctors who disdain their insurance premiums?

Government has its role in forcing 'the big bad company' to do the right thing because in your free-market paradise, they cannot be trusted to do it themselves.