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LOS ANGELES — Wal-Mart failed to pay hundreds of California truck drivers minimum wage according to a federal jury Tuesday. The panel awarded the drivers $54 million in damages and opened the retail giant up to more civil penalties.
The jurors found in favor of drivers claiming the company did not properly pay drivers for activities that included inspecting and washing their trucks and for layovers. Civil penalties will be determined by a judge.
The judgement will impact more than 800 drivers who worked for Wal-Mart between October 2005 and October 2015. The drivers were seeking $72 million in damages, largely for failing to pay drivers during layovers.
Additional damages and penalties could push the total amount Wal-Mart will have to pay past $150 million.
Drivers were not paid minimum wage for layovers even though Wal-Mart controlled their time by requiring them to stay with their trucks according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Wal-Mart claimed that the drivers should be paid for their overall task not for the individual actions, like staying with a truck during a layover.