Wal-Mart Watch: Wal-Mart settles over exploiting immigrants:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, has agreed to pay $11 million to settle federal allegations it used illegal immigrants to clean its stores, attorneys in the case said Friday. The landmark settlement was expected to be announced by federal immigration officials at a news conference Friday morning. Since 1998, federal authorities have uncovered the cases of at least 250 illegal immigrants who were employed by janitor contracting services and hired by the giant retailing chain in 21 states. Many of the janitors — from Mexico, Russia, Mongolia, Poland and a host of other nations — worked seven days or nights a week without overtime pay or injury compensation, said attorney James L. Linsey. Those who worked nights were often locked in the store until the morning, Linsey said. “We’re happy that Wal-Mart may finally be putting this shameful chapter to rest with the federal authorities and we expect them not to focus on the people who were shamefully exploited from around the world,” said Linsey, who is representing the workers in a civil suit against the company that is still pending in New Jersey. The $11 million settlement clears Wal-Mart of federal allegations of hiring the illegal immigrants. Federal officials refused immediate comment Friday morning, as did Wal-Mart officials.