Wal-Mart in $86 million settlement of wage lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc agreed to pay as much as $86 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing it of failing to pay vacation, overtime and other wages to thousands of former workers in California.

About 232,000 people will share in the settlement, which was disclosed on Tuesday in a federal court filing.

It requires a minimum payout of $43 million, and “far exceeds other recent settlements” involving Wal-Mart, the filing shows. The accord requires court approval.

Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter declined to comment.

The world’s largest retailer was accused in the original 2006 complaint of failing to pay a variety of wages to former workers as required under California law.

In agreeing to settle, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company did not concede that any wages remained unpaid, according to Tuesday’s filing.

The settlement is separate from Wal-Mart’s 2008 agreement to pay as much as $640 million to settle 63 federal and state class-action lawsuits alleging it deprived workers of wages.

Last December, Wal-Mart also agreed to pay $40 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over wages in Massachusetts.

The $86 million equals roughly two days of after-tax operating profit for Wal-Mart, regulatory filings show.

Wal-Mart shares were up 6 cents to $52.22 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The case is In re: Wal-Mart Stores Inc Wage and Hour Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 06-02069.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Additional reporting by Brad Dorfman in Chicago, editing by Dave Zimmerman