RUNNIG HEADER: WAL-MART SEX DICRIMINATION “Always low prices,” is the clever motto used by Wal-Mart to lure its customers into the supermarket. Wal-Mart serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week. They operate under 69 different banners in 27 countries (Frank, 2006). With fiscal year 2012 sales of approximately $444 billion, Wal-Mart employs 2. 2 million associates worldwide. Wal-Mart has created a facade declaring that their low prices have benefited all Americans.
However, under its disguise of generosity, Wal-Mart has become an unethical workplace from which the workers, the society, and Americans are suffering. Wal-Mart Sex Discrimination: Dukes vs. Wal-Mart Inc. History of Walmart In the late 1940’s, Sam Walton had a simple but momentous idea. Walton was always looking for deals from suppliers. He realized he could do better than other retailers by passing on the savings to his customers and earning his profits through volume (Frank, 2006). This formed a cornerstone of Walton’s business strategy when he launched Wal-Mart in 1962.
The decade that began from the 1970s was period of substantial economic growth, in the history of Wal-Mart. In 1971, it started off a huge expansion by opening a gigantic center and also a home office in Bentonville, Arkansas (“Sam Walton”). The 70s decade saw a substantial rise in the number of employees which amounted to about 1500 associates. 1975 the company had expanded to 7500 associated and had 125 operational stores. In 1977, in a massive takeover, Wal-Mart acquired the Hutcheson Shoe Company and also introduced a branch for pharmaceuticals by the name Wal-Mart pharmacy.
By the end of the decade, Wal-Mart had become a giant in the American retail industry with a turnover of more than 1. 248 billion dollars in sales and 276 stores managed massive yet efficient staff of 21, 000 associates. When Walton died in 1992, the adjustment to a post-Sam environment proved difficult (“Sam Walton”). Although Wal-Mart executives had emphasized for years that their company depended on a set of principles and habits more than it did on any one person, Walton’s death wound up marking a fateful shift in how the company was perceived.
Before his death, Walton witnessed the rise of Wal-Mart becoming the biggest corporation of this nation and the world. However, he was unable to see the steady path of its destruction. Throughout its path to success, Wal-Mart has turned into a selfish vendor who has forgotten morals, ethics, and mainly America (Frank, 2006). However, the dependency of customers on Wal-Mart is so high that it is impossible to challenge their ways. Walton’s Wal-Mart has turned into dominating supermarket by crushing the rights of their employees, by destroying the jobs of many Americans, and by changing of the quality of life in the American societies.
Sex Discrimination According to our book, surface-level diversity is the observable demographic and other overt differences in people, such as their race, ethnicity, gender, age, and physical capabilities (McShane ; Von Glinow, 2011, p. 21). Sex discrimination is part of surface- level diversity. Discrimination usually occurs when actions of an employer, supervisor or coworkers “deny to individuals or groups of people equality of treatment which they may wish. “( Stainback, Ratliff, ; Roscigno, 2011) Dukes vs. Wal-Mart Inc.
In 1986, Walton was sensing some pressure to appoint a woman to Wal-Mart’s all-male board (Frank, 2006). So he offered the job to Arkansas’ first lady, one Hillary Clinton, who accepted. She would later quote Walton’s pitch: “I think I need a woman; would you like to be her? ” Today, Wal-Mart’s challenges in the field of gender equality are not so easily addressed. The company keeps its payroll costs down by paying women less than their male counterparts for performing the same work. Evidence also exists that it fails to promote women at the same rate as men.
In 1995, Betty Dukes took a job at a Wal-Mart near San Francisco, working as a cashier and greeter for $5 an hour (Frank, 2006). A “greeter” represents the face of the company as consumers walk through the door. Little did Dukes and Wal-Mart know that Dukes would ultimately become a face of Wal-Mart nationally, under much different circumstances. In 2000, Dukes found herself denied promotions filed a sex-discrimination suit. “The suit alleges that Wal-Mart violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), is the biggest employment discrimination case in the history of the United States.
Furthermore, the suit hastens an eventual trial for women, who are seeking billions of dollars from Wal-Mart” (Hagen, 2011). The case now involves nearly two million women, and, in 2004, it was certified by Judge Martin J. Jenkins, of the United States District Court in San Francisco as a class action. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. When the victim suffers a tangible economic detriment, such as termination or demotion, the employer is strictly liable under Title VII. (Lavin ; DiMichele, 2012).
Discrimination is a difficult thing to prove. According to numbers compiled in 2003 by the plaintiffs, female store managers average slightly under $90,000 in annual income, while their male counterparts average slightly over $100,000. And while women make up 79 percent of the store’s department heads (an hourly position), only 15. 5 percent are store managers. When the Supreme Court dismissed Dukes vs. Wal-Mart due to the complexity of proving such a large number of claims to be true, Wal-Mart likely believed that it could close the door on that decade-long (Levine, 2008) .
However, Dukes and her peers haven’t given up, almost 2,000 current and former female employees across the country have filed gender discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Of the 1,975 EEOC complaints, the largest number of complaints came from Florida, with 284 filings, followed by Alabama with 142 filings and Georgia with 119 filings. The EEOC complaints preserve the women’s right to sue Wal-Mart for gender discrimination in pay and promotions, despite the dismissal of the Dukes class.
Till this day, the women are still fighting this long battle and hoping it gets settled soon. Wal-Mart is Labeled as “Cheap” Wal-Mart is legendary for its cheapness across its operations. Wal-Mart forces its executives to share hotel rooms when they travel at their expense. The allegations do seem to whole some kind of truth to it. Wal-Mart single-minded devotion to lower prices, one might predict that they would only engage in employment discrimination to the extent that it serves efficiency goals. “A company that prioritizes low prices might lawfully provide limited benefits and pay low wages across the board.
Such a company might also commit widespread, nondiscriminatory labor violations if it thought that the benefits of such violations would outweigh the probability and costs of detection. Thus, the charges of overtime violations that led to Wal-Mart’s federal and state settlements are fairly unsurprising” (Wexler, 2011) A company desiring low labor costs might also engage in so-called rational discrimination by excluding or disfavoring workers who are accurately forecasted to raise costs for the company (Wexler, 2011). Some evidence suggests that Wal-Mart does in fact engage in such practices.
In particular, Wal-Mart settled several disability discrimination cases in which it was charged with using pre-employment questionnaires to screen out employees with medical or other disability-related issues. Even after the entry of a 2004 consent decree in a class action disability discrimination case, over one-hundred plaintiffs have filed new charges contending that Wal-Mart fails to provide reasonable accommodations, fires disabled employees, and uses a “leave of absence” bait-and-switch to force disabled employees out. Conclusion
Ethics plays a huge role in this decade long battle. One ethical principle that stands out to me is Distributive Justice. It’s a principle which suggests that people who are similar to each other should receive similar benefits and burdens; those who are dissimilar should receive different benefits and burdens in proportion to their dissimilarity (McShane ; Von Glinow, 2011, p. 53). The case, deals with distributive justice. I believe that everyone should be paid the same if doing the exact same job, regardless of gender.
Women works just as hard a man if not harder in the corporate world. References. Awards. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://corporate. walmart. com/our-story/awards Hagen, W. (2011). Dissection and Analysis of the Recent Cases on Employment Discrimination Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employee Responsibilities ; Rights Journal, 23(3), 171-186. doi:10. 1007/s10672-010-9163-x Frank, T. A. (2006, April). Everyday low vices. Retrieved from http://www. washingtonmonthly. com/features/2006/0604. frank. html McShane, S.
L. , and Von Glinow, M. A. (2010) Organizational Behavior, 5th Edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, New York. Lavin, H. S. , ; DiMichele, E. E. (2012). Are You My Supervisor? : The Scope of Supervisory Authority Under Title VII. Employee Relations Law Journal, 38(3), 89-94. Levine, D. (2008, September 21). Walmart gender discrimination lawsuit allowed to proceed, judge says. Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2012/09/22/walmart-gender-discrimination_n_1905204. html Sam walton. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://corporate. almart. com/our-story/heritage/sam-walton Stainback, K. , Ratliff, T. N. , ; Roscigno, V. J. (2011). The Context of Workplace Sex Discrimination: Sex Composition, Workplace Culture and Relative Power. Social Forces, 89(4), 1165-1188 Wexler, L. (2011). WAL-MART MATTERS. Wake Forest Law Review, 46(1), 95-121. Appendix * In the past 5 years at Walmart stores in the U. S. : * Female co-managers have increased by 143% * Female store managers have increased by 46% * Female market managers have increased by 49%