For Immediate Release - September 24, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Reaches $3 Million Agreement with Wal-Mart to Settle Claims the Company Violated the Massachusetts Meal Break Law

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announces that it has reached a settlement agreement with Bentonville, Arkansas based Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) to resolve allegations that the company failed to properly comply with the Massachusetts Meal Break Law. The company has agreed to pay $3,000,000 to the Commonwealth to resolve all outstanding allegations asserted by the Attorney General.

The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division opened an investigation into Wal-Mart's meal break policies after workers reported that they were required to work through their meal breaks, take meal breaks after they had worked over six hours, or spent less than thirty minutes on their meal breaks. Under the Massachusetts Meal Break Law, employers cannot require employees to work more than six hours without a thirty minute meal break. During the thirty minute period, employees must be relieved of all duties and must be free to leave the work premises. The Massachusetts Meal Break Law does not mandate damages or restitution for workers. After being contacted by the Attorney General's Office, Wal-Mart cooperated fully with the investigation and has re-affirmed its commitment to comply with all wage and hour laws.

The Attorney General's Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages, meal breaks and overtime and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. Workers who believe that their rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the Attorney General's Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the state's wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General's Workplace Rights website:

The matter was settled by Assistant Attorney General Joanne Goldstein, Chief of the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division, Assistant Attorney General Bruce Trager and Attorney Lauren Goldman, all of Attorney General Coakley's Fair Labor Division.