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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 03:20 GMT
Wal-Mart must pay workers $172m
File photograph of a Wal-Mart store
The company says it will appeal the decision
The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, has been ordered to pay $172m (99m) in compensation to workers who were refused lunch breaks.

A California court found Wal-Mart broke a state law requiring employers to give staff an unpaid 30-minute lunch break if they worked more than six hours.

More than 100,000 Wal-Mart employees in California will be eligible for compensation.

The company said in a statement that it would appeal against the decision.

'Satisfied'

"We absolutely disagree with their findings," company lawyer Neal Manne told the Associated Press news agency of the jury's verdict.

It ordered Wal-Mart to pay $57m in general damages and $115m in punitive damages.

From 2001, state law called for shift workers to get meal breaks or be compensated with extra pay. Wal-Mart workers got neither, the lawsuit charged.

"We are very satisfied," said Chris Lebsock, one of the lawyers representing Wal-Mart workers.

Wal-Mart stores are popular for their low prices, but critics accuse them of achieving success by denying workers' rights.


SEE ALSO:
Wal-Mart in global expansion push
15 Dec 05 |  Business
Wal-Mart is labelled 'bad for US'
01 Dec 05 |  Business
Wal-Mart calls for higher wages
26 Oct 05 |  Business
Wal-Mart to help boost diversity
19 Oct 05 |  Business
Wal-Mart hit by 'sweatshop' claim
13 Sep 05 |  Business
Unions seek Wal-Mart mobilisation
23 Aug 05 |  Business


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