Monday, July 18, 2005

Wal-Mart Class Action Update

From Bloomberg News comes a very lengthy update on the gender discrimination class action lawsuit currently pending against Wal-Mart. One of the newest developments:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. took no action on internal warnings seven years ago that it was falling short in promoting women, documents in a federal sex-discrimination lawsuit show.

The world's largest retailer didn't carry out the 1998 recommendations of a diversity task force and disbanded the panel, according to company memos, reports and depositions filed in the case. Two years later, Wal-Mart had a reduced percentage of female managers.
The key point is that Wal-Mart knew it had a problem as seen by the creation of the task force but as William Gould, a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board who teaches employment law at Stanford Law School remarked:

But they didn't have the wherewithal or the interest to follow through or do something about it. It strengthens the plaintiff's case that it's about intentional as well as unintentional discrimination. I'm sure this has made them more interested in settling.
The article also summarizes the various claims of the class action lawsuit including pay disparity, a lack of female representation in manager positions and a system of promotion that lacked transparency.