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Walmart Settles Cashiers' Seating Lawsuit

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 12, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Have a seat, Walmart.

That's what $65 million says after nearly 100,000 current and former cashiers settled with the retail giant. The cashiers sued the company for refusing to provide seating while they worked.

Under California law, employers must provide seating for workers "when the nature of the work reasonably permits." Under the settlement, Walmart will also have a seat among payors for the largest settlement ever under a special state law.

Private Attorneys General

Reuters reported that California's Private Attorneys General Act is unique, allowing workers to sue their employers on behalf of the state. They get to keep one-fourth of any money they recover under the Act.

The plaintiffs sued Walmart nine years ago, and trial was scheduled to begin later this year. The parties have filed a settlement statement, which must be approved by the judge.

Walmart denies any wrongdoing, but has agreed to pay $65 million and to provide seats for its cashiers in California. A spokesman said "both sides are pleased to have reached a proposed settlement."

The seating regulation was first enacted in 1911 to accommodate women working in retail businesses. Since then, it has been expanded to cover more workers.

Resisted the Law

Walmart resisted the law, saying it would pose a safety hazard and reduce productivity. The company said cashiers need to have room to bag merchandise, scan large items, and perform other work away from their registers.

It wasn't the first time large company has paid to settle the issue. Last year, Bank of America paid $15 million to settle a lawsuit by tellers over seating.

CVS, JPMorgan Chase, Kmart, AT&T, and Home Depot have faced similar lawsuits.

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