In May 2010, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed to pay around $86 million just to end a wage dispute lawsuit filed by California workers who alleged that the company owes them vacation pay and other kinds of unpaid wages.

According to reports, the entire amount will be divided into two. Around $12 million of it will be allotted in vacation pays while the remaining $74 million will be given to terminated employees as payment for their unpaid wages.

Around 232,000 former Wal-Mart employees will benefit from this money.

This settlement shows how employers can suffer if they fail to provide just compensation to their employees.

Wage Dispute Lawsuits in California

Different overtime and wage laws were implemented so that employees will receive a fair payment from their employers. In addition, these laws prohibit employers from doing illegal actions and ignoring the rights of others, especially those whom they have control of.

However, many of them still break the law, thinking that they might escape from liabilities if their employees will remain mum on the issue. Here are some examples of employers' wrongdoings that can result in a costly wage dispute lawsuit:

· Failure to provide pay checks to employees

· Failure to reimburse an employee's business expenses

· Failure to compensate an employee who has performed overtime work

· Failure to provide the final check of an employee who has resigned from his job

· Failure to provide necessary benefits to employees like vacation and sick pay

If an employee feels that he was not properly compensated by his employer, he can assert his legal rights and file a case in court. He should act immediately because failure to do so may prevent him from being compensated, especially if he exceeds the time allotted in filing the case.

In California, the statute of limitations, which is the period wherein a person can file a lawsuit, depends on what type of wage claim the employee is planning to file. For example, four years are allotted for oral contract disputes and three years are allotted for overtime dispute claims.

Providing Overtime Pay to Employees

Most of the wage dispute lawsuits that are filed today deal with overtime pay violations. It happens when employers fail to compensate an employee who has worked for more than 40 hours in one work week, or eight hours in just one day. However, not all employees can receive overtime pay. Examples of employees who are exempted from it include newspaper deliverers, independent contractors, and criminal investigators.