Wal-Mart to pay $4.8M for overtime violations

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $4.8 million in back wages and damages to more than 4,500 employees nationwide for unpaid overtime, The Labor Department said Tuesday.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also will pay nearly $464,000 in civil penalties for violating federal overtime laws.

The violations cover current and former managers at Wal-Mart vision centers and certain security personnel at Wal-Mart Discount Stores, Wal-Mart Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club warehouses.

The Labor Department said the company improperly considered the workers to be exempt from overtime pay.

Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said the company took the allegations seriously when they were first raised in 2007 and immediately corrected the way it classified the employees.

"We adjusted our pay practices at that time and determined that back wages should be paid for the associates involved," Rossiter said.

Nancy Leppink, head of the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division, said she hoped the case would put other employers on notice that they can't avoid paying overtime by improperly classifying their workers as exempt.