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Friday, October 13, 2006

Wal-Mart's famous information system used Against them : Jury Fines Wal-Mart $78 million

Wal-mart has lost a case, which is now being certified as a class action suit in Pennsylvania. Workers litigated Wal-Mart in relations to claims that Wal-Mart forced them to work through breaks and off the clock. At the heart of Wal-Mart's success is their central nervous system or Information Systems. Wal-Mart is often held up as the example of how a retailer can track transactions and activities throughout their distribution chain. It appears that these same systems had some information that supported the worker's claims as well. According to a report on MSNBC, "The plaintiffs used electronic evidence, such as systems that show when employees are signed on to cash registers and other machines, to help win class certification during several days of hearings last year."Penn. jury fines Wal-Mart $78 million - U.S. Business - The initial lawsuit was started by lead plaintiff Dolores Hummel from Reading Pennsylvania. She worked in the Sam's Club bakery from 1992 - 2002. She claimed that she was forced to work anywhere from 8-12 hours off the clock each month. Wal-Mart has heard similar claims from other workers around the country. In 2004, Wal-Mart was heavily criticized for locking workers in the store at night. It would seem that the heavy expenditure and terrific return on that expenditure as it relates to their informations systems was the cake, but those same systems might not let Wal-Mart have its icing too! This might prove even more troublesome for Wal-Mart if other attornies find a way to benchmark on the Information Systems information. The irony of this is that Wal-Mart's competitors have been trying to benchmark on the results of those systems for years.