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Wal-Mart settles wage class action over Calif. workers


BENTONVILLE, Ark. (Reuters)—Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay as much as $86 million to settle a class action lawsuit accusing it of failing to pay vacation, overtime and other wages to thousands of former workers in California.

About 232,000 people will share in the settlement, which was disclosed Tuesday in a federal court filing.

It requires a minimum payout of $43 million and “far exceeds other recent settlements” involving Wal-Mart, according to the filing. The accord requires court approval.

A Wal-Mart spokesman declined to comment.

The world's largest retailer was accused in the original 2006 complaint of failing to pay a variety of wages to former workers as required under California law.

In agreeing to settle, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company did not concede that any wages remained unpaid, according to Tuesday's filing.

The $86 million equals roughly two days of after-tax operating profit for Wal-Mart, regulatory filings show.

The settlement is separate from Wal-Mart's 2008 agreement to pay as much as $640 million to settle 63 federal and state class-action lawsuits alleging it deprived workers of wages.

In December, Wal-Mart also agreed to pay $40 million to settle a class action lawsuit over wages in Massachusetts.