A U.S. District Court in San Francisco has ruled Walmart violated California’s minimum wage law when it failed to pay its truck drivers for tasks ranging waiting in line to load or unload cargo to the time it takes to fuel or wash a truck.
According to Judge Susan Illston, who issued her ruling in late May, truck drivers must be paid for all the time they were under Walmart’s control, even if those tasks were officially designated by the megastore as designated unpaid activities.
Fresno attorney Butch Wagner told the Fresno Bee that the judge’s ruling could amount to $100 million to $150 million in back pay — which would include interest on that money and penalties. Wagner said he represents 720 truck drivers in his lawsuit. Wagner said Walmart pays its drivers by the mile and not by the hour.
However, a Walmart spokesman said there is no proof that any company driver wasn’t paid the minimum wage for each hour worked, adding Walmart contends Wagner’s interpretation of the law is incorrect. The spokesman told the Bee that Walmart drivers earn between $80,000 and $100,000 per year and that more than 90 percent of its drivers have been with the company for more than a decade.