Wal-Mart opened its first store in 1962 in Arkansas. Since the opening of the first store they have been one of the largest retail store. Much of their success is owned to the founder, Sam Walton. Walton believed in low prices and great service. He had great success with this vision over the span of his career. Sam died at the age of 74 in 1992. Little did he know that in the future his visions of providing great service and low prices, would come at a cost. The cost being several discrimination cases filed against them since 2001.
In the year 2001, the first case was filed in Pittburg, California. Five female employees filed a lawsuit accusing the retailer of discriminating of paying female workers less than men and giving less promotions. After acquiring evidence, they found that woman were paid less than men at the equal seniority and woman are higher performers yet hold less store managers positions. Wal-Mart argued that the main office monitors the employees and promotions and raises are determined on a discretion basis. The federal courts deemed this case a class action suit.
In, 2010 the case made it to the Supreme Court and the class action suit was dismissed. It states, “The Court gives no credence to the key dispute common to the class: whether Wal-Mart’s discretionary pay and promotion policies are discriminatory. ” (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Duke ET AL, 2010 p. 38) They deem is case was not a class action case because of the dissimilates between the woman’s evidence. The evidence could not link the woman and each person would have to be viewed separately and if discrimination exists that will determine if back pay awarded.
In regards to the dismissal Theodore Boutrous, Wal-Mart’s lawyer, “This is an extremely important victory, not just for Wal-Mart, but for all companies who do business in the United States. ” (Totenberg, 2011 par 4) Even though the Supreme Court dismissed the case, sexual discrimination was still evident at Wal-Mart. Gender issues are a sensitive topic at the Wal-Mart workplace (Shapiro, 2012 par 4) Interviews have been conducted by Joseph Seller but a formal investigation was not in the works. Wal-Mart claims, “corporate policy forbids discrimination, encourages diversity and ensures fair treatment. (Shapiro, 2012 para 7)
In 2012, close to 2000 woman in the 48 states filed discrimination charged against Wal-Mart. “Charges were filed in every state except Montana and Vermont (the latter has only four Walmart stores, the fewest of any state). Women in Florida, Alabama and Georgia filed the most claims. (Hines, 2012, par. 3) Wal-Mart denied claims for the same reason the Duke case was dismissed by the Supreme Court. The lawyers were hoping that since they were breaking this suit into smaller sections that this would move forwarded. Again, the courts dismissed the case for the same reasons.
The cases filed against Wal-Mart for discrimination continues to grow. In 2014, Wal-Mart faced pregnancy discrimination charges twice. After the first case they changed their policy to, “begin to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers so they could stay on the job rather than be forced into taking unpaid leave. ” (Schulte, 2014 par. 1) The same people filed the second suit stating, “the new policy is ambiguous and isn’t being uniformly enforced. ” (Schulte, 2014 par. 2) In 2015, Wal-Mart pays $150,000 to settle EEOC Age and Disability discrimination suit.
They settled because evidence shown, “Wal-Mart refused to provide a reasonable accommodation for the man’s disability as federal law requires. ” (Wal-Mart to Pay $150,000 to Settle EEOC Age and Disability Discrimination Suit, 2015 para 1) Finally, in late 2015 Wal-Mart recognizes changes need to be made when the third lawsuit filed against them in the past five month regarding discrimination issues. Walmart started a campaign to called Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) to change the course of the recent claims against Walmart.
In the press release Jess Levin, MCAW, states, “Once again we see evidence that Walmart doesn’t discriminate when it comes to alleged discrimination. This alleged behavior by the nation’s largest employer is sickening and unacceptable. ” (Perry, 2015 par. 3) She also states, “How many times, just in the past five months, has Walmart been accused of discrimination? Hardworking Walmart workers have allegedly faced or complained about discrimination for their sexuality, race, age, and now gender identity. We will not stop until Wal-Mart changes for the better. (Perry, 2015 par. 3) Wal-Mart is currently trying to make amends with the latest discrimination case against them. The most recent case was a discrimination against same sex marriage health insurance rights. In order to make amends Wal-Mart has created a campaign is for Pride Month. They have attempted to donate money to LGBT community. The community states, “As you may know, one of the corporations sponsoring Pride events in your city is Walmart. Walmart is the nation’s largest employer and millions of Americans shop there every day.
Their actions – or lack of action – matter. When it comes to LGBT issues, the sad reality is that they are trying to pass themselves off as an ally to the LGBT community by writing checks, while ignoring allegations of discrimination and hate. This must stop, and it must stop now. ” (Pond, 2016 par 6. ) It doesn’t appear that the discrimination trouble for Wal-Mart is ever going to stop. It goes from one type of discrimination to the next. Part two Walmart seemed to have an ongoing issue with diversity for roughly the last fifteen years.
Based on the cases these issues have gone on a lot longer, however no one chose to speak until about fifteen years ago. Wal-Mart has been operated under the Resistance Paradigm. “The resistance paradigm is based on the rejection and evasion of diversity and diversity-promoting initiative. ” (Can? as 2014, Sondak 2014 p. 14) Wal-Mart considered diversity as a threat and did not treat it appropriately. The evidence shown they were paying female employees less and promoting females less even though they were better performers.
They knew they were in the wrong and could face serious charges and they appealed themselves all the way to the Supreme Court. Other cases afterward they did have to pay large sums of money. It should seem obvious they need to adopt a new method of managing the corporation. Wal-Mart should have adopted the Integration-and-Learning Paradigm. Wal-Mart could have benefited from investing in diversity training and management would have a better understanding of how critical diversity is, within the workplace.
Organizational leaders who adopt this paradigm are proactive about learning from diversity, encourage people to use their cultural experience at work, fight forms of dominance, and subordination based on demographic categories, and ensure that conflict related to diversity are acknowledged and resolved with sensitivity. ” (Can? as 2014, Sondak 2014 p. 17) If they adopt this paradigm they employee would be knowledgeable about different forms of diversity and could have prevent several of their cases against them. Not investing in diversity training is cost them more money in the long run and giving bad publicity to Wal-Mart.
I personally do not shop at Wal-Mart because of the way they treat their employees. Had they taken a lesson in treating employees fairly, my opinion on spending my money at Wal-Mart may change. Wal-Mart have never really recovered since their first case against them in 2001. They have continued to have issues with diversity and several cases have been filed against them over the past fifteen years. They were very effective in hiring a strong legal team; however, they were extremely ineffective in treating employees fairly to prevent them from having to use the legal team as much as they have had to.
A smart move on Wal-Marts behalf was creating a team that is delegated to work on improving public relations and covering their end from all the negative media. Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) has filed a Press Release on behalf of Wal-Mart on the cased filed against them. They are also trying to promote the good that Wal-Mart is capable of doing. MCAW is working to recover Wal-Mart from all their hot water they have put themselves in, but as one problem is swept under the rug another one appears. These crisis situations have represented leadership and management problems.
The leadership at Wal-Mart should have a clear code of ethic that every employee should have to follow. Wal-Mart does have a code of ethic; however, leadership does not enforce the code of ethics on the management team. One store manager told a female employee regarding paying females less, “that the male employees “had families to support,” according to the suit. When an employee at the Abilene store complained, her manager reportedly told her she should be “happy with the money she made. ” (Shapiro, 2012 par. 2)
Upon hearing those allegation, that particular manager should have been reprimanded. The code of ethic is used to loosely to ensure that proper diversity is demonstrated by leadership and management. In conclusion, Wal-Mart has had a severe issues with diversity for several years. They have been sued for gender, sexual orientation, race, and age and disability discrimination. Wal-Mart has tried to recover with creating MCAW with little success. To prevent future diversity issues from occurring and to fully recover from the past they need to adopt a new paradigm.
They need to adopt an Integration-and-Learning Paradigm. This paradigm would educate leadership and management on the importance and sensitivity of diversity issues. This proactive approach would continually educate leaders and management on the appropriate way to handle sensitive issues and make them recognize possible diversity challenges before they occur. If Wal-Mart were to adopt this new way of managing diversity they could recover respect and increase the amount of shoppers based off treating their employees with the respect they deserve.