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Reuters reports that a Superior Court in Pennsylvania has ruled against Walmart in the retailer’s appeal “of most of a $187.6 million verdict for Pennsylvania hourly workers who accused the world's largest retailer of denying them meal and rest breaks.”

According to the story, the court “said there was sufficient evidence for Philadelphia jurors in 2006 to conclude that Wal-Mart's practices violated state wage and hour laws. It also said Wal-Mart's own internal review uncovered violations regarding ‘off-the-clock’ work.”

The original case was brought on behalf of more than 185,000 current and former Walmart employees who worked for the chain between 1998 and 2006.

"The record reflects testimony and documentary evidence suggesting that because of pressure from the home office to reduce labor costs and the availability of significant bonuses for managers based on store profitability, Wal-Mart's scheduling program created chronic understaffing, leading to widespread rest-break violations," the appeals court said.

There was a bright spot for Walmart, however, since the Superior Court panel of three judges order the original trial court “to recalculate a $45.6 million award of legal fees” on the grounds that some services were double-counted.

Walmart says that it remains convinced of the rightness of its position, and spokesman Greg Rossiter said, “We look forward to additional review in the courts."
KC's View:
This has the potential for being a rough month for Walmart, since the US Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether a gender bias suit against it - representing 1.5 million female former and current employees - can remain a class action.