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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Excerpts Contd...

Other Allegations Against Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart was criticized for several anti-employee practices other than gender discrimination. In June 2001, employees accused the company of failing to record extra hours of work, altering time records, and preventing them from taking rest breaks in violation of federal labor laws.

A lawsuit filed by Taylor Vogue and Sally Mussmann in June 2001, on behalf of Wal-Mart employees, stated that, "Wal-Mart gives its employees work assignments impossible to complete within scheduled hours, and then pressures the workers to complete them anyway through intimidation and threats of adverse employment consequences. At the same time, the staffers are prevented from clocking in extra hours worked." However, Wal-Mart denied the above allegations. Bill Wertz, Wal-Mart's corporate spokesman, said, "The allegations here are completely contrary to Wal-Mart policy. This is an issue that Wal-Mart feels strongly about." Defending its stand, the company spokesperson said that Wal-Mart required employees to take permission from the management before working overtime...

Facing the Consequences

As a result of all the above negative publicity, Wal-Mart lost a lot of its carefully built up goodwill. In January 2003, the company was declared the winner of the Sweatshop Retailer 'Peoples Choice Award' for being connected with the most number of sweatshop abuses (with 56% of people voting in favor of Wal-Mart) in 2002.

Commenting on this Bob Jeffcott, MSN spokesperson, said, "When it comes to poor labor practices, both in retail stores and supply factories overseas, Wal-Mart is sweatshop king."

Wal-Mart also did not feature in the Fortune Magazines 2002 list of the '100 Best Companies to Work For' for the first time in four years.

Reportedly, this was a direct result of the company's failure to provide affordable healthcare coverage to its workers, which forced them to forgo health insurance. Allegations that Wal-Mart monitored union activities and asked employees to spy on co-workers added to the company's problems...


Exhibit I: Wal-Mart Timeline
Exhibit II: Allegations Made by Dukes
Exhibit III: Percentage of Female Managers at Stores in the US General Merchandise Stores Industry
Exhibit IV: Wal-Mart Work Force (By Gender) in 2001
Exhibit V: Wal-Mart Speaks on Equal Employment Opportunity
Exhibit VI: Wal-Mart Speaks on ILO Standards


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