Walmart Agrees To Pay $65 Million To Settle Lawsuit Over Failure To Give California Cashiers Seating

A worker collects shopping carts outside Walmart store.
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Walmart has agreed to pay $65 million to settle a 9-year-old class action lawsuit that claimed it failed to provide seating for its cashiers.

According to the Los Angeles Times, about 100,000 current and former Walmart cashiers in California could be eligible to receive their share of the settlement that the retail giant agreed to pay in connection to its failure to provide seating for workers who want it.

The proposed settlement was filed in a San Francisco federal court this week. The heavily litigated class action suit will end once a judge approves the proposal.

Walmart employee Nisha Brown filed the lawsuit in 2009. The suit claimed that Walmart violated a 2001 California wage order that says employees should be provided with “suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits.”

The retailer denied accusations that it committed wrongdoing. The proposed settlement, in fact, states that the company still believes that the nature of the cashiers’ work does not reasonably permit the use of a seat.

The retailer earlier argued that its workers should be able to move around so they can greet customers, look inside the carts, and stock the shelves.

It also claimed that the seating makes the cashiers less efficient, and that customers prefer cashiers who stand.

Shopping carts line outside of a Walmart store.
  Scott Olson / Getty Images

The company likewise cited that it may suffer from significant loss in revenue if it provides seating to its cashiers.

The plaintiff’s lawyer said in a court filing that both sides want to settle the case to avoid prolonging a long-running and costly dispute that has no clear outcomes.

“Both sides are pleased to have reached a proposed resolution and look forward to the court granting preliminary approval to the settlement,” Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove said in a statement.

Included in the proposed settlement is a commitment by Walmart to start a pilot program that would provide stools for its California cashiers provided they express the desire to use them.

The company would have to inform its cashiers about the availability of the seating, and not discriminate or retaliate against the workers who opt to sit.

California cashiers employed by Walmart from June 11, 2008, until the date the settlement is approved would be eligible to claim a slice of the settlement money. This number is equivalent to about 100,000 people.

The share would not be equal. The payout would depend on how long the employee worked as a cashier at the company over the last decade.