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Wal-Mart to pay $33 million in back wages


WASHINGTON--Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay more than $33 million in back wages, plus a still-undetermined amount of interest, owed as overtime pay to about 87,000 employees nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

A consent judgment ordering the retailer to pay the back wages, which also orders Wal-Mart to correct its practices, was filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, Ark., said Steven Mandel, associate solicitor in the Labor Department's Fair Labor Standards division.

Mr. Mandel said the average overtime payment, which covers the period from Feb. 1, 2002, to Jan. 19, 2007, averages $386 and affects employees nationwide. Wal-Mart also has agreed to seek out former employees who are entitled to payment, said Mr. Mandel.

Mr. Mandel said Wal-Mart had initially approached the department in 2005 after an internal review indicated there may be some violations in its payroll practices, and the department then confirmed this.