By  on October 4, 2007

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday was ordered to pay another $62.3 million to workers in Pennsylvania who said they weren't allowed rest and meal breaks.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Mark Bernstein said he was penalizing the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer because there was no "good faith" reason for in effect underpaying the employees.

The class-action suit involves 187,000 current and former employees who worked at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club from March 1998 through May 2006. A jury last year awarded them $78.5 million.

A smaller number of workers — 124,506 who worked from January 2002 through October 2006 — qualified for the damages awarded Wednesday. They will get about $500 each under a state law invoked when a company withholds pay for more than 30 days without cause.

Wal-Mart has been involved in similar suits across the country. A trial in California ended with a $172 million verdict, which the company is appealing. Wal-Mart settled a Colorado suit for $50 million. There are cases pending in New Jersey and other states.

"While Wal-Mart respects the court and the jury, we strongly disagree with the decisions against the company in this case," said Sharon Weber, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. "It is our policy to pay every associate for every hour worked, and any manager who violates that policy is subject to discipline."

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