Walmart ordered to pay $54.6 million in jury prizes to California truck drivers

Walmart lost its appeal in the Ninth Circuit on Monday (January 6) when appeals court judges upheld a $54.6 million award to Walmart truck drivers in California. The lawsuit concerned non-payment for breaks taken by drivers and required by law.

Federal law dictates that truckers take a 30-minute break during their workday during which they cannot drive more than 11 hours in a 24-hour period.

Walmart employs about 9,000 truckers, according to the retailer’s website. The retail giant also said it pays nearly $90,000 a year to drivers who must have an excellent safety record. The national median salary for drivers is $42,000, according to the industry trade group.

Walmart said it stands by its compensation practices and the company is reviewing the Ninth Circuit option and exploring its options.

“We continue to believe that our truck drivers are paid in accordance with California law and often in excess of what California law requires,” Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told Talk Business & Politics. “We are proud that our drivers are among the highest paid in the industry, earning on average between $80,000 and over $100,000 per year. »

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in 2018 that California trucking companies do not need to provide paid rest and meal breaks to employees of drivers inside and outside of California. Other court decisions have sided with the drivers. In 2018, Arkansas-based PAM Transport was ordered to pay its drivers for any time spent inside the truck after the drivers were sued in 2016.

In Fayetteville, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Brooks said in his ruling that any time spent in the truck without eating or sleeping should be counted as “on duty” requiring payment.

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