Sex Discrimination at Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart stores, the world’s biggest retailer, owns more than 4,000 stores, including 1,475discount stores 1750 Wal-Mart Supercenter combination discount and grocery stores and 540 Sam’s Club Warehouse stores. With close to two million employees worldwide, Wal-Mart is the biggest employment provider in the world. In this paper I am going to discuss; 1. What financial impact could the lawsuit potentially have on Wal-Mart? 2. What are the major moral complaints of the females suing Wal-Mart? Are these moral complaints are justified? Why? . What, if anything, should Wal-Mart do to correct these discrepancies? Should the company institute an “affirmative action” promotion program for female employees? If so, what should this program look like? 4. Do women deserve to win their lawsuit? Though Wal-Mart suffered lots of lawsuits which included child-labor, illegal immigrant workers, failure to pay over time charges the recent and major law suit they are facing now is the discrimination against female employees in promotions, pay, management training and job assignments.
It was, therefore, a noteworthy event in June 2004 when a federal judge expanded a lawsuit filed by six California women to a class action. The case has now mushroomed to cover 1. 6 million women Wal-Mart workers, employed nationwide since 1988, making it, by far, the largest class action in U. S. history. What financial impact do you think lawsuit could potentially have on Wal-Mart? We all know, Wal-Mart is the biggest or largest retail store in the world. Naturally, their earning and employees are also more compared to other corporate.
The lawsuit against the company was not the company needed when they were facing other legal issues such as the child labor and employment of illegal immigrants. The lawsuit was filed by six women who say women were treated lower than the male even if they acquired equal posts, qualification and experience. The news already reached every household, street and public place thus bringing the name of the company down. This could have a huge impact on the company’s earnings and here we are not saying in terms of hundreds or thousands of dollars we mean millions and billions of dollars. Some of the impact could occur in the following forms: ?
The six women who filed the case against Wal-Mart are not only asking the company pay for the unfair deed but also asking them to pay back and compensate for all 1. 6 female employees against whom Wal-Mart discriminated. This would cost the company a fortune because these 1. 6 female workers were entitled to promotions, salary increment, trainings and other such things. To compensate or reimburse that much amount for that much workers would surely have a huge and major impact on the company’s financial position. ?The other way how this lawsuit could affect the company’s financial position would be through the transaction or sales.
Since major part of the shoppers constitutes women, after hearing what Wal-Mart has done and how women are treated at Wal-Mart they would certainly feel insecure and ripped off. They would turn their backs and look for a better place to shop. This would lead to a fall in sales and increase in competition. ?Other thing is the reputation and goodwill of the company. The lawsuit already has brought the name of the company down and on top of that if the company fails to win the case, then the company would suffer a huge fall of share in the market.
They would even have to close most of the stores and start all over again which would be impossible looking at the current market situation and all the competition worldwide. ?And not to forget the turnover of workers or employees. Reaching this news of discrimination I personally believe that most of the women employees will quit their job, even those who did not experience the situation. So interviewing, selecting or recruiting those new employees would cost Wal-Mart another million. Moreover, those new employees would have no experience and would commit lots of errors.
Training them would again add to the cost. What are the major moral complaints of the females suing Wal-Mart? Do you believe these moral complaints are justified? Why? The major moral complaints of females suing Wal-Mart in the case basically cover the discrimination against female employees. To point out what constitutes those complaints: ? Difference in the promotion scheme between male and female employees ? The lower payment of wages and salaries to female employees even they were at same level with male employees ? Unequal distribution of management training among the male and female employees ?
Male allotted a better job assignment compared to women even they were equally qualified, ranked and experienced. Yes, I believe these complaints are justifiable because we can see from every point that women were not treated fairly and equally. It wasn’t that women lacked in anything or that they were unwilling to work, it was because they were woman. We can very well compete with men and in some cases may even prove better than them but it is act like this what is pulling the power of women down. The six women who sued Wal-Mart didn’t sue for nothing; they had physical proof and evidences of the discrimination laid upon them.
Some of the evidences were found in the employees’ records where by Richard Drogin, a statistical expert found out that employees atWal-Mart were divided into two main groups, hourly employees who occupied the lower levels and salaried managers who occupied the higher levels. Compensation increases from one level tithe next. In 2001, salaried managers made about $50,000 a year while hourly employees made$18,000. Drogin found out that not only 65% of hourly employees were women but also 33% of salaried managers constituted women.
So at both the point women earned less than man. When we also look upon the experience level, an average woman was far more experienced than an average man because women worked or stuck there for longer than men. Women despite having other responsibilities like raising a kid or managing the home, they dedicate more where they work that is why they have less turnover rates. So this adds up to another reason why the lawsuit was appropriate or justifiable. It is strange but true; the performance rating of an average woman was much higher than of an average man.
Drogin found out that be it in a cashier’s place, a manager’s place or a sales associate’s place women performed better than men. However women were paid about 5% to15% times less than men and on top of that fewer women got promoted to the next rank that too in a very long time whereas a man would get promoted within the speculated time or even less into the next post. Wal-Mart was fined $188,000 by the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission for violating California state law when it refused to reinstate a woman after she completed her maternity leave.
In addition, Wal-Mart also offers a pitifully small amount of paid sick time for working women, and requires employees to be available for shifts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making it extremely difficult for working mothers to schedule child care or take time off to care for a sick child. So the main point here is that at any angle or point we can see women were not treated fair and left to suffer. If women do not come together and fight for their rights when they have the opportunity then women will always remain a victim.
Then there is no use shouting at the store or ourselves that we deserve more or we have earned it, it would be too late then. Besides the moral complaints by the female workers at Wal-Mart there were major issues involving the employees which were not noted earlier, some of the issues were: ? Wal-Mart pays low wages and appears to aggressively seek to keep wages down. On average, Wal-Mart workers earn an estimated $8. 00/hour with a 32 hour work week. This equals $256 a week or $13,312 a year. The Federal poverty level for a family of threes $14,630. In contrast, union grocery workers earn on average 30% more. Charges have been made that older workers are laid off to bring in younger and cheaper employees. Some 40 lawsuits accuse Wal-Mart of a failure to pay overtime. ?It pulls wages and benefits down in other grocery stores. It lowers area standards. In some cases, it forces the closure of better paying firms. Business Week estimates for every Wal-Mart supercenter that opens, two other supermarkets will close. ?It pressures suppliers to make products more cheaply, putting pressure on wages, causing jobs to be moved overseas. Last year, it imported 12 billion in goods from China, 10% of US imports from that nation. Wal-Mart doesn’t produce new technology or innovations that improve the quality of life. It takes business from existing firms by offering the same merchandise cheaper. That’s all it does. So I believe it is not only justifiable but also rightful to file the lawsuit against such treatments. On top of that the evidences and statics are on the women’s side so therefore the lawsuit is 100% justifiable. What, if anything, do you think Wal-Mart should do to correct these discrepancies? Should the company institute an “affirmative action” promotion program for female employees?
If so, what should this program be like? The problem was caused by the company, Wal-Mart so definitely they have to find a solution and try to correct their mistakes. They have already started working on the problem. Some of the initiatives they have taken are: ? They had posted “anti-discrimination” posters all over ? Women were allotted more responsibilities and representation in areas they were evaluated ? Women could enter salaried management jobs without having to relocate their homes. But since such initiatives were not firmly implemented some of them were forgone with the passage of time.
Some of initiatives Wal-Mart could think of or adopt are: 1) Work Discrimination I am talking about the actual work or labor work. Women at Wal-Mart seem to be working at par with men but still they are not paid at par. To compensate for the women’s losses they could reduce their work time or they could allocate women to areas where minimum energy is required. For example they could work at displaying of items, as a cashier, and such places where not much of hard labor is required. 2) Facility such as Day Care Wal-Mart is one of the biggest retail all over the world and they have lots of property they own.
If they established some Day care center for their employees especially the female employees then those employees who have kids can drop their kids in those center and work care free in the store. The center could be near the store and they could also charge some amount as charge but this could not only benefit the workers but also the company for could avoid unnecessary absenteeism. An association called the Women’s Association can be formed in every retail store so that female employees can come together to discuss their issues and forward suggestions and feedback.
Such programs do not have to disturb their normal work time, it could be conducted once in every month or whenever major issues arise. 4) Equal Respect At Wal-Mart’s women were mostly looked down and not given the respect they deserve. Adwoman may be somebody’s mother, wife or sister. Men at Wal-Mart fail to see that and they criticized women of their looks, their past, future and their purpose in life. So therefore women should be given respect and treated equally. Yes definitely the company should institute an “affirmative action” in order to promote program for the female employees.
From my point of view, since the company is based in the United States they should associate their program with the Statue of Liberty. That statue denotes the power of women and it signifies the right to freedom for all the U. S citizens. The title or the main theme of such program could be “Liberty for Women” . Whereby they could stress the freedom to speak, advance and employment especially for the female workers. They could relate women to some famous figure such as the Mother Teresa or simply their own mom. On this particular day they could give all the female employees a one day holiday and let them embrace themselves.
The company should however grant monetary compensation for this day. This way women employee could proudly say they work at Wal-Mart and dedicate completely to their work and avoid complaining. Some of the points they could keep in mind while pursuing such program could be as follows: ? The right and responsibilities of women ?The importance of women ?The success of women till now ?The potential and ability of women ?The sacrifices women make in every aspect of life References Wal-Mart Class Action Gender Discrimination Case Holds,(2012), Myron Curry, retrieved from http://www. usiness-marketing. com/store/article-walmart. html Are Women Discriminated Against at Wal-Mart? , (2012), Dan Ackman, retrieved from http://www. forbes. com/2004/06/23/cx_da_0623topnews. html Wal-Mart, pay your fair share,(2006), Randy Joseph, retrieved from http://www. seattlepi. com/local/opinion/article/Wal-Mart-pay-your-fair-share-1194522. php Female Wal-Mart Employees File New Bias Case, (2011), Andrew Martin, retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/2011/10/28/business/women-file-new-class-action-bias-case-against-wal-mart. html? _r=0