A company that was once hailed as the Starbucks of the digital age, Walmart’s chief operating officer is now on the receiving end of a lawsuit that accuses the retail giant of having a massive hidden cost: overpaying medical staff.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, the retailer paid $14.9 million to help cover expenses for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians and other healthcare workers employed by its medical staffing unit in 2013, a year in which the company expanded to 8 million stores across the country.
Walmart’s annual compensation for those workers was $1.5 million.
But the lawsuit contends that the company did not pay enough to keep them employed at its stores, and instead charged them $1,500 to $2,500 per month for their services.
In an emailed statement to The Next World, a spokesperson for Walmart confirmed that the payouts were for “specialized medical and dental work” and that the amount is only for those who are “not employed in Walmart stores.”
But the statement did not provide a reason for the extra payments, including the alleged $1 million cost to Walmart.
The company’s healthcare expenses for 2015 were $8.3 billion, according to its annual report, and the amount of money the company paid out is a fraction of what it spent in the same period last year.
Walmart spent $11.5 billion on healthcare in 2015, and it paid out $11 billion in total compensation to its employees, the company’s CEO Jeff Simon said in a statement.
According a Walmart spokesperson, the compensation costs are for “services that are not specifically assigned to medical personnel,” and the company is “investigating” the claims.
But Walmart’s compensation department told The Next Word that the total amount paid out in 2017 was $7.6 billion, or $7,902 per Walmart employee.
The spokesperson also said that Walmart’s total healthcare expenses in 2015 were less than $2 billion.
“The cost to us was the same as last year, with the exception of one year when we spent $14 million on a health care cost for our staff,” the spokesperson said.
“This year we spent only $3 million on healthcare.”
The spokesperson did not respond to further questions from The Next Way.
In a blog post on the company website, Walmart Chief Operating Officer Doug Oberman wrote that he is aware of the lawsuit and will respond to it as soon as possible.
The lawsuit filed Monday claims that Walmart violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by paying its medical staff more than the statutory minimum wage.
In addition, it claims that the compensation payments to medical staff “are excessive and unjustified.”
In a letter dated April 30, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it was investigating the claims, which it called “an egregious example of retaliation.”
Walmart was already under fire in the media after a whistleblower filed a class action lawsuit against the retailer in December over pay discrepancies that resulted in some employees being paid less than minimum wage and some being paid more than $30,000.
The lawsuit claims that Wal-Mart’s compensation is “unfair and retaliatory” and said that the retailer was “underreporting” its pay.
The New York suit accuses Walmart of making an “unprecedented effort to cover up” its medical and medical-related costs and that “the company continues to provide insufficient financial incentives to employees for working at Walmart.”
Wal-Mart said in the letter that it has “never engaged in retaliation” against any of its medical workers, including that of the whistleblowers, and that its compensation department is working with the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate the claims and to address their “deeply concerning impact.”
WalMart also says that it is “looking into this matter” and is “actively addressing this matter with our employees, including reviewing our compensation programs to ensure that they align with the law and comply with applicable regulations.”
The company has said it is not looking to replace its medical workforce.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to announce a plan to take up the option of fielding an armored personnel transport vehicle on Friday, the Pentagon said.
The move would allow the service to use more of the Army’s M-60 tanks, which are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The armored vehicles are a crucial component of the Marine Corps’ armored combat vehicle fleet, which includes a variety of other equipment, including MRAPs.
“This is a key piece of the armor and the vehicles that we are deploying to support our troops in the field,” Mattis told reporters in an interview with the New York Times on Friday.
“We’ve seen the capabilities that have been demonstrated in Iraq with the M-20s and the M3s, and we’ve seen them in Afghanistan with the T-90s.
We’ve seen a lot of the capabilities with these vehicles in Iraq.”
M-60s, MRAP and T-72M tanks are seen in a hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California in this photo taken February 13, 2020.
AP/Mike Blake/File A Defense Department official said Mattis has been discussing the plan with defense officials and would unveil the proposal in a speech to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday afternoon.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
The M-120 and M-124 armored vehicles have been in service since 1986.
“The Army is using the T4 [medium-caliber] guns for this, and they are good vehicles,” Mattis said of the T90s, which he has deployed in Afghanistan.
“But we are looking at how to take them forward.
We have had a number of M-6 and M8 tanks that are on our plates.
We are very interested in how to make sure that we’re putting a good vehicle on the field.”
Mattis has said the Army will use a mix of M60s and M60A2 tanks to fill in the gaps of the M60 program.
The M-90 armored personnel vehicle is seen in an armored vehicle storage area at Marine Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, U.S., in this undated handout image released by Marine Corps Central Command on April 19, 2021.
Marine Corps/Handout via REUTERS The Marine Corps is expected in 2019 to begin fielding the M6A1 and M6M1 tanks.
The first armored vehicle will be a T-54 tank, and the first M-1 Abrams will be fielded by the service in 2020.
The first two M-2 Abrams will come later in the decade.
The Army will continue using the M1A1 Abrams, but will be using the vehicle for “other operations” such as counterinsurgency and humanitarian missions.
The Army will also use a limited number of the vehicles to train its soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The next tank will be the M2 Bradley, a medium-caliber vehicle that is being developed as a replacement for the aging M2 Abrams.
The T-1 tank, also called a T2 or T2A1, is a light infantry vehicle, capable of fighting against light vehicles.
The vehicle is expected by 2021 to be fully fielded.
The Marine Corps and Army are expected to field the M20 armored personnel transporter and the T20 medium-armor vehicle.
The Marines have a total of 11 T-60A1s and four T-62A1 vehicles in the inventory.
The tank’s crew is composed of three to five soldiers.
It has a crew capacity of 20 to 30.
The commander of the Marines is responsible for the protection of the crew, which is a “small group” that consists of two crew members, two command, communications and communications support personnel, and two operators.
The Marines have not yet fielded the T40 armored personnel car, but is expected that they will, the Marine said.
The T-70 tank is the most widely used of the tanks.