Wal-Mart: A Case of Employee Discrimination

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG024
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2001 - 2002
Pub. Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Wal - Mart
Industry : Retail
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Allegations Against Wal-Mart

The June 2001 the sex discrimination case filed by Dukes covered all female employees of Wal-Mart retail stores in the US.

Wal-Mart was charged with discrimination against its female employees in compensation, promotions and job assignments in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) . The plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart mistreated women in various ways: they earned much less than their male counterparts even when they had more experience than men or performed better than them (Refer Exhibit II for a detailed note on the complaint filed by Dukes). The case also alleged that Wal-Mart prevented women employees from advancing by

Prohibiting them from working in departments that were traditionally assigned to men (and often paid more)...

Taking a Closer Look

According to the employees suing the company, Wal-Mart's culture and environment were inhospitable to women. The company had reportedly held on to its traditions, including those that made women uncomfortable.

For example, the company organized annual quail hunting (a practice introduced by Walton) for only a small group of top managers. Few women, who worked in the lower executive ranks, were also invited. At one point of time, some women suggested that an activity other than hunting would allow more people to participate. The idea was rejected on the grounds that it would interfere with the company's tradition. There were also instances where women executives were forced to go to Hooter's restaurants (known for the titillating dress and behavior of their waitresses) and strip clubs in the course of business events. Moreover, female employees at Wal-Mart were reportedly given fewer promotions than male employees...

Excerpts Contd... >>


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