Monday, April 4, 2016

SCOTUS will not review 9-figure wage and hour judgment against Wal-Mart

I've covered this case before... it has been working its way through the Pennsylvania court system for a while. A bunch (like 187,000) of Wal-Mart employees filed a class action lawsuit under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law claiming that they were not paid for missed breaks and time spent working during their breaks.
Corporate logo used in discussion of
Wal-Mart. Not official use.
In Wal-Mart v. Dukes (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the certification of a class of over one million Wal-Mart employees in a discrimination case absent an employment practice generally applicable to all of them. The Court noted that a "Trial by Formula" was insufficient. 

Fast-forward to 2016, in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, and the Supreme Court seems just fine with using a "trial by formula" to assess damages in a wage and hour collective/class action. The plaintiffs used a sample of a few dozen employees, to extrapolate overtime worked for thousands of employees. No problem!

Given Tyson Foods, it should come as no surprise that the Supreme Court denied cert. in the Pennsylvania Wal-Mart case. They have apparently lost interest in protecting employers from "trial by formula" - at least in the context of  calculating damages in wage and hour cases.