By  on July 2, 2008

A Minnesota district court judge ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to pay $6.5 million to compensate workers for missed rest breaks and off-the-clock work as part of a class-action lawsuit, which could also weigh down the discounter with civil penalties of up to $2 billion.

Nancy Braun, a former hourly employee at Wal-Mart's Apple Valley, Minn., store, brought the suit in September 2001, and was later joined by a number of other named plaintiffs who alleged the retailer failed to provide its employees with sufficient rest breaks and meal periods. They were later joined by a class of 56,000 people who worked at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in Minnesota from September 1998 though January 2004.

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