Wal-Mart Controversy

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Wal-Mart attorneys say a court should reconsider a ruling against the company that could cost it millions of dollars in overtime pay.

They asked the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to
order a new hearing in the case. A federal judge had said the company violated the law by failing to pay overtime to pharmacists.

Wal-Mart Attorney Steve Merker told a three-judge panel that the trial judge should've heard evidence about U-S Department of Labor rulings that say companies can adjust salaried employees' pay if economic conditions warrant.

Gerald Bader Junior is an attorney for 900 pharmacists. He says there's no need for a hearing because the Labor Department has ruled that companies can't arbitrarily change salaries for recurring events, such as seasonal slowdowns.

A Denver federal court judge ruled in 1999 that Wal-Mart violated federal law by classifying pharmacists as salaried employees who were ineligible for overtime.

Estimates for the cost of unpaid overtime for the pharmacists have ranged up to 140 (m) million dollars.

The class-action lawsuit was initially brought in 1995 by former Wal-Mart pharmacist Jerry Archuleta (ahr-choo-LET'-uh) of Alamosa and two other southern Colorado pharmacists.