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The Pioneer Press in Minnesota reports that the trial has begun in the class action suit brought by four women against Wal-Mart, accusing the retailer of forcing them to work through breaks and off the clock, without pay, before and after their sifts.

According to the story, “Four women brought the case on behalf of 56,000 current and former Minnesota employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. All of them at one time worked for either Wal-Mart or Sam's Clubs but claim they were not properly paid for hours worked in violation of the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Attorneys for the workers said in opening statements before Judge Robert King Jr. that they have collected more than 1 million documents, including time records, internal memos and timekeeping audits Wal-Mart conducted on its own. Their witnesses will include store workers, high-level executives, store managers and regional and district managers. The nonjury trial is expected to go for months.”

Wal-Mart declined to make an opening statement, and said that it would present its case once the workers have completed theirs. The retailer has lost a couple of similar cases elsewhere in the country, and is facing a number of others, according to press reports.
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