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The New York Times reports this morning that Wal-Mart did an internal audit three years ago that revealed "extensive violations of child-labor laws and state regulations requiring time for breaks and meals."

The audit looked at employee records at 128 stores in identifying the violations.

While confirming the existence of the internal audit, Wal-Mart told the NYT that its conclusions were "meaningless."

"Our view is that the audit really means nothing when you understand Wal-Mart's timekeeping system," Mona Williams, Wal-Mart's vice president for communications, told the NYT. She said that what appeared to be violations could simply be the failure to clock in and clock out.

However, the issue of clocking in and out is one that has reared its head in the form of lawsuits against Wal-Mart, as some employees have charged that they were pressured to work off the clock. Attorneys for the plaintiffs told the NYT that the existence of the audit helps to prove their case.

According to the NYT, it obtained the audit from a "longtime Wal-Mart critic," and that the retailer has persuaded several courts to seal the audit since it was completed and turned over to lawyers who accused it of making employees work off the clock.
KC's View:
Based on his complaint at the National Retail Federation (NRF) conference that Wal-Mart is being unfairly picked on by the media, CEO Lee Scott will no doubt find this to be yet another example of the company's victimization.

It's hard to understand, though, how a retailer can conduct an audit like this and then seemingly ignore it because it doesn't like the conclusions.