Walmart is the world’s largest retailer. Like many other companies, Walmart may have started out with good intentions but failed to deliver due to numerous ethical violations. Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton, has long stood by his dream of providing low cost prices for consumers. Numerous lawsuits in which Walmart is accused of poor employment practices and wage law violations where in some instances employees were forced to work without pay, required to work overtime and during scheduled breaks, and failed to properly compensate employees for hours worked, exploitation of workers, including child-labor laws, sexual discrimination in regards to its promotion policies and pay rates, and inadequate health care options. Walmart’s objective was to keep labor costs down and management was key in overseeing that those objectives were met. Some were compensated for their loyalty to the corporate objectives, others fell victims for fear of being fired or demoted.
Walmart’s unethical behaviors seem to repeat a common theme amongst a large number of corporations both in the private and public sector. Unfortunately, the ethical issues Walmart faces are all too common. There were some former Walmart employees told their stories about how Walmart underpaid them. As an example, Joyce Moody, who used to be a Walmart manager, said that the company threatened to write up managers if they didn’t bring the payroll low enough (qtd. Dicker 81). They forced the employees to work off the clock or deducted employees’ hours in the time sheet.
Walmart has been accused of sexual discrimination in regard to its promotion policies and pay rates between its male and female employees. On June 22, 2004, Walmart became part of the largest class-action sexual discrimination lawsuit claiming that female employees received 6.2 percent less on average than male employees for similar jobs and that even though a large percentage of women held the majority of positions, only 33 percent held management positions at Walmart (Stanwick & Stanwick, 2009).
In the article Wal-Mart Female Employees Try Again for Sex-Bias Class Action, Jordyn Holman presents the lawsuit between Walmart Stores Inc. with a group of women who believe that they were unequally treated and faced gender discrimination during their employment with this company. She highlights that the defendants claim that they were not treated equally compare to other male workers, in which they were paid less and denied opportunities, in the complaint filed in Florida’s federal court. She notes that this lawsuit is a part of Dukes and Walmart Stores Inc. case in 2001, which is acknowledged that the company had a kind of sex-bias over women in promotion, pay, training and job assignment. This case was representing for 1.6 million Walmart female workers. Besides that, she also lists that these cases are just a part of other 2,000 claims that were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for sex-bias in pay and promotions at Walmart.
Continually criticized for its healthcare polices, Walmart has taken some initiative in finding common ground in regard to this ethical dilemma. Walmart’s healthcare plan was 40 percent lower than the average for all other United States companies and 30 percent lower than the average for the retail industry (Stanwick & Stanwick, 2009). Walmart could change its position by re-examining other companies’ healthcare plans and at least meeting some of the industry standards met. The fact that the case study claimed that 5 percent of employees were on Medicaid, 46 percent of employees’ children did not have health care coverage and chose to enlist in their spouses’ healthcare plans shows that how little Walmart was offering for healthcare was less than desirable (Stanwick & Stanwick, 2009).
Walmart has gotten a bad reputation for its unfair employee policies and discriminatory practices, which demonstrates that the company is focused more on profits rather than social benefits. The company should manage to improve its policies and values and focus more on its contribution to the society. Therefore, Walmart does not exemplify the way business should be conducted.
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