Walmart contracts with Schneider Logistics to run warehouses, and has always said that the workers in the warehouses are Schneider employees with no real connection to Walmart. In the current case, Schneider also claims not to be legally liable for minimum wage and overtime violations, because the workers are hired and employed through a staffing agency. But federal district Judge Christina Snyder is saying "not so fast": She's reaffirmed an earlier decision that both Walmart and Schneider should go to trial to determine if they are in fact joint employers of these workers.
Tuesday’s ruling marks the first time a court has ruled there has been enough evidence of Walmart’s “joint employer” status to overcome summary judgment or a motion to dismiss, which requires Walmart to defend itself at trial, according to attorneys for the workers.That there were serious minimum wage and overtime violations in the Schneider-Walmart warehouse complex isn't in much doubt: a separate case involving workers employed directly by Schneider was already settled for $4.7 million. That's a big reason it's so important for Walmart to deny being the workers' employer at all. Now they'll have to prove that in court—something that won't be easy, and will probably bring to light a lot of information about how its warehouses work that Walmart would probably prefer remain hidden.
“The workers’ day-to-day reality is vindicated by this ruling,” said Theresa Traber of Traber & Voorhees, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, through a statement. “They are subjected to the directions and pressures of Schneider managers as they enforce Walmart’s performance standards on a daily basis.”