Magazine article Drug Topics

Judge Sides with Wal-Mart R.Ph.S on Overtime

Magazine article Drug Topics

Judge Sides with Wal-Mart R.Ph.S on Overtime

Article excerpt

A federal judge has ruled in favor of pharmacists in a long-running collective action suit charging that Wal-Mart owes them back pay for overtime hours.

U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado Judge Zita Weinshienk issued a summary judgment against Wal-Mart for denying 1,100 current and former pharmacists overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The judge also found that Wal-Mart wrongly classified its pharmacists as professional salaried employees, even though they were paid as if they were hourly workers and therefore subject to the FLSA.

The suit is seeking anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per pharmacist, depending on the overtime hours they worked. The average sum is about $75,000. Total damages against Wal-Mart could be in excess of $150 million, said Leslie Wilkinson, attorney with the Denver law firm Franklin D. Azar & Associates, which represents the plaintiffs. She added that the law firm is preparing to return to court to discuss with the judge damages against Wal-Mart.

"We're very excited," Wilkinson said. "These pharmacists had a lot of patience. They went through a lot of stress. The court ruled that Wal-Mart had wrongly denied overtime pay. There was debate over whether the pharmacists were salaried or hourly. …

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