Main | Wednesday, July 07, 2010

NEW YORK: Wal-Mart Fights OSHA

Wal-Mart has spent over $2M in attorney and court fees fighting a measly $7000 fine for that infamous Thanksgiving Day trampling case in which somebody was killed in a sales-frenzy stampede. The company is concerned that once OSHA starts successfully fining them, then they'll really have to play by the rules.
In fighting the federal fine, Wal-Mart is arguing that the government is improperly trying to define “crowd trampling” as an occupational hazard that retailers must take action to prevent. Wal-Mart’s all-out battle against the relatively minor penalty has mystified and even angered some federal officials. In contesting the penalty, Wal-Mart has filed 20 motions and responses totaling nearly 400 pages and has spent at least $2 million on legal fees, according to OSHA’s calculations. The dispute has become so heated — and Wal-Mart’s defense so vigorous — that officials at OSHA, an arm of the Labor Department, complain that they have had to devote huge numbers of staff time to the case, including 4,725 hours of work by employees in the legal office. The company has made so many demands that Labor Department officials said they would not discuss the case except on condition of anonymity because they feared being subpoenaed about their discussions with a reporter.

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