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CLASS ACTION Outsourcing provider settles disclosure suit ROSELAND, N.J. (AP)-Bisys Group Inc., a provider of outsourcing services to the financial services sector, said that it has reached a tentative agreement to settle a securities class action. Bisys said that it will pay $66.5 million in cash into an escrow account within 10 days after preliminary court approval. The lawsuit, filed in a New York federal court, concerned claims about the company’s financial disclosures, including allegations about its financial restatements filed in 2005 and 2006. EMPLOYMENT Grocery chain to pay $70M over illegal hiring LOS ANGELES (AP)-Ralphs Grocery Co. will pay $70 million to settle charges that it had illegally hired hundreds of workers under fake names during a 2003-2004 grocery strike and lockout. In July, as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, the chain pleaded guilty to five of 53 counts involving allegations of conspiracy, identity fraud, false representation of Social Security numbers, concealing facts relating to employee benefit plans and causing employees falsely to represent information to government agencies. Under the terms of its deal with prosecutors, Ralphs will pay $20 million in criminal fines and $50 million into a restitution fund for Ralphs employees who were locked out during the labor dispute. INTENTIONAL TORTS British caterer settles suits charging bid rigging LONDON (AP)-Catering company Compass Group PLC said that it has settled two lawsuits filed in the United States by competitors claiming damages following allegations of corrupt activities in some of its contracts with the United Nations. The settlements involve ES-KO International Inc. of Monaco and Supreme Foodservice A.G. of Switzerland. Compass said the total costs relating to the settlement were less than $74 million. The U.N. had suspended Compass as a registered vendor pending the outcome of an inquiry into allegations that its Eurest Support Services unit had improperly obtained confidential information about a contract to supply food and water to peacekeepers in Liberia. ES-KO and Supreme had accused Compass and Eurest of conspiring to rig bidding for the U.N. awards. Steel firm pays $15M to settle bribe charges PORTLAND, ORE. (AP)-Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. has agreed to pay $15.2 million over charges that an Asian subsidiary bribed steel mill managers in China and South Korea. The company reached a $7.7 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and pleaded guilty in an Oregon federal court to charges that its South Korean subsidiary had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It will pay a $7.5 million fine. The SEC said Schnitzer’s South Korean subsidiary, SSI International Far East Ltd., made improper cash payments to government-owned steel mills in China between 1999 and 2004 to encourage business with Schnitzer. The company also paid bribes to privately owned steel mills in both China and South Korea. PRICE-FIXING Bayer pays $18M, settles price-inflation claims KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP)-Bayer A.G. has agreed to pay $18 million to settle claims that it conspired with other manufacturers to inflate the price of certain plastics, the second multimillion-dollar settlement the company has made this year regarding its polymer operation. The settlement covers the company’s sales of polyester polyol-based products between Jan. 1, 1998, and Dec. 31, 2004. According to court documents, BASF Corp., BASF A.G., The Dow Chemical Co., Huntsman International Holdings LLC and Lyondell Chemical Co. control the entire polyurethane products markets and 75% of production of polyether polyol, a polyurethane material that is mixed with other substances to make foams used in furniture, automobile seats and other products. Federal authorities consolidated 16 cases filed across the country against polymer manufacturers by customers who alleged the companies had gotten together to fix the price of urethane and urethane chemicals. WAGES AND HOURS Wal-Mart to pay $78M over ‘off the clock’ work PHILADELPHIA (AP)-A Pennsylvania state jury has ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to pay at least $78.5 million for violating Pennsylvania labor laws by forcing employees to work through rest breaks and off the clock. The jury rejected Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart’s claim that some employees chose to work through breaks and that the loss of a few minutes’ pay here or there was insignificant. The class action involves 187,000 current and former employees who worked at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs from March 1998 through May 2006. The plaintiffs claimed that Wal-Mart computers were programmed to dock workers for every minute they signed in late. But employees were sometimes logged on to cash registers when they were not on the clock. Wal-Mart tried to avoid overtime at all costs, and told employees to work off the books if they had worked too many hours that week.

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