The People vs Wal-Mart

Column: Doorway to Diversity
by Darold Ingram

I was planning on doing a post today on the legacy of a musical legend when a very interesting event in the news got my attention.

It seems that in the news as of late, Wal-Mart is in hot water. There is a enormous class action lawsuit pending against the large company that consists of over 1.6 million women who claim that Wal-Mart discriminates against women, and has been doing so for a very long time.

Wal-Mart employees filed a class action lawsuit in 2001, alleging that Walmart engaged in a discriminatory pay and promotion practices. The women sued for backpay and an injunction requiring the company to change its practices. The class includes between 500,000 and 1.5 million current and former female employees.

How the justices resolve the case will have significant impact. The litigation pits millions of female employees alleging company-wide, gender-based discrimination against the country’s largest retail establishment. Whether the supreme court upholds this class certification is being closely watched by not only female employees, but by corporate America, which is concerned that if the class certification is upheld, almost every large American corporation would be vulnerable to sweeping allegations of employment discrimination based on generalised theories of discriminatory corporate culture and subjective local decisions.

When I first heard about this lawsuit, it felt surreal. I shop at Wal-Mart, as I’m sure you do too, all the time. I’ve never heard of serious issues from the company and I’ve always heard that Wal-Mart is one of the top companies in America to work for. In a way it comes as a shock because we’ve been told that Wal-Mart sets the example that all major American corporations should follow.

That appears not to be the case if Wal-Mart is found to be in the wrong. To hold an employee back from promotion and to deny them a salary raise due to their gender is flat out wrong. Its so sad to me that some people in the corporate world feel that this is good practice AND this is something that they can get away with. They feel “as long as no one can prove me being in the wrong, I’ll never get caught”.

I dont know what will come out of this. I don know if this case will go to court or a decision out of court will be made. But this is one of these stories that makes you think of what goes on Across corporate America. How many companies tend to quietly practice gender discrimination because they feel its beneficial to the company and feel that one group of people are better suited to lead a company rather than simply looking at the work credentials of the individual.

It really makes you wonder.

-Darold Ingram

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~ by daroldingram on March 30, 2011.

4 Responses to “The People vs Wal-Mart”

  1. It definitely will be interesting to see decision. I’m interested to see if it was corporation-wide, or was it isolated incidents as Walmart claims. If it is truly isolated incidents, it would seem procedures to vet these complaints either do not work as designed or management / HR isn’t complying with company policy.

  2. It will be interesting to see what finally happens with this! Wal-Mart has a lot of dark, dirty secrets – this being one of them. We studied Wal-Mart a lot in college in my business classes and very little of it was good. I’ve been hearing of this discrimination for years. The way they run their business seems to be “We’re Wal-Mart – get out of the way or we’ve pave you over.” It’s a really interesting company… and not always for the right reasons.

    -Caitlin

  3. I work for a wal-mart, and I can totally vouch that they are the worst employer I have ever had in my life. They’ve never resisted giving me a raise, however, the guys on my shift get the hours when all the women’s hours always get cut. This has been going on for three years. They’ve held backpay from me from over 3 years ago and I stopped bothering trying to get it back for when I attempted to fight it, I was told, “If you value your job, you should drop this.” by a manager. Management there hang out with hourly associates in a lower position (against the rules) and go out drinking with them. They constantly are picking favorites, insulting the others; if you don’t get your task done fast enough they write you up, and eventually fire you. They even treat the elders like this. The ones who CANNOT go faster than what they’re capable of. Its a disgusting horrible place to work, and the ONLY reason I stay is because the economy is horrible at the moment- not like I could get a job anywhere else without a college degree that pays me what I make there.

    • Wow – I’m so sorry you’ve had to endure this!! This sounds absolutely awful!! Unfortunately, it’s exactly this sort of stuff that we studied in my classes. Sad to hear it really is true. This just goes to show low prices really do come at a cost.

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