Monday, March 21, 2005

Hey Smiley Face, Let's See Your Green Card

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. escaped criminal charges by agreeing to pay a record fine of $11million to end an investigation into its use of illegal immigrants to clean floors at stores in 21 states. Lee Scott, Jr., Wal-Mart CEO said he planned to pay the fine as soon as his secretary returned from lunch. "She has the key to the petty cash drawer."

"We are satisfied that this is being settled as a civil matter," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said. "Despite a long, thorough and high-profile investigation, the government has not been able to pin anything on us. And if you don't think that cost us a pretty penny, you've got another think coming," she added.

Williams said no executives or mid-level managers knew the contractors had hired illegal immigrants. "Hey. They go home at five, you know? What happens after that is outside of their control."

Lawyers for some of the workers say they worked as many as seven days a week, were not paid overtime and did not receive injury compensation. "Funny story there," Williams said. "We told them if they went to the hospital, the Immigration agents would get them. What a bunch of rubes. Most of them didn't even know the doors were locked and they couldn't have gotten out anyway."

Michael J. Garcia, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said a third of the workers have been deported to their home countries. "We feel justice has been served," he continued. "We kicked out only the ones who got bad employee evaluations."

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