Walmart and Sex Discrimination

By Amanda Reed, Communications Intern

For many of us, Walmart is nothing extraordinary. We’ve seen its familiar blue-and-white signs and heard its slogan more times than we can count. We have gone to Walmart when we discovered the Christmas lights were broken or when our socks have vanished in the wash. Some of us have visited our local store for no other reason than boredom — we needed to get out of the house and walk around. As we stood in line for our items, we may not have wondered what the day was like for the person behind the counter. Had they been employed there long? Were they paid fairly for their work? Did they believe their workplace was free of discrimination?

Walmart employs 815,000 women — 57 percent of its U.S. workforce — and has a history of unfair treatment of these female employees: they are often underpaid, underrepresented and given few opportunities for advancement. Although women make up the majority of Walmart workers, most of them occupy low-wage positions and few are in management roles. In 2010, most Walmart managers were men.

Many female Walmart employees have been paid less than male coworkers. In 2001, female workers earned $5,200 less per year on average than male workers. The company paid those who had hourly jobs, where the average yearly earnings were $18,000, $1.16 less per hour ($1,100 less per year) than men in the same position. Female employees who held salaried positions with average yearly earnings of $50,000 were paid $14,500 less per year than men in the same position. Despite this gap in wages, female Walmart employees on average have longer tenure and higher performance ratings.

In Dukes v. Walmart — the largest class action gender discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history — 1.5 million female employees accused Walmart of discrimination in promotions, pay and job assignments. The case included 120 affidavits relating to 235 stores. When the Supreme Court heard the case in 2011, it ruled that “[e]ven if every single one of these accounts is true, that would not demonstrate that the entire company operate[s] under a general policy of discrimination.” Today, many of the plaintiffs are in the process of filing smaller suits against the corporation.

We may not always pay attention to Walmart, but its continuous trend of gender discrimination cannot be ignored. This retail giant should be setting higher standards for other employers, not abusing its power and exploiting its workers. Walmart may have “always-low prices,” but its practices are not always fair.

6 Responses to “Walmart and Sex Discrimination”

  1. desiree pitts

    Yeah I have discriminated against also I work at walmart store 1960 tampa fl. I was informed that I would be in training and getting experience assisting the support manager in the food department. The next day they told me to stock and dont assist support manager. She told me to get a notebook and showed me all the duties as a support manager. They did not offer me full time or any position they used me to do the support managers job and assist her without pay raise. I think this was very disrespectful and unprofessional because they assigned me back as a stocker when the day I was training they took me out of my aisle and assigned other associate to finish my isle. What should I do to resolve this workplace discrimination.

    Reply
    • Tiny Weaver

      I was told by the regional personal manager on 3/6/2015 that it was OK to work associates in higher pay grade jobs if they were getting a low pay grade . But I couldn’t work someone that was in a higher paying job in a lower pay grade job. I think this is wrong. I was told by my store manager to get it done. He didn’t care how. Now I’m in trouble. I agree with u this is so wrong!!!!!

      Reply
  2. Eva

    I was also discriminated against.. I worked at the Wal-Mart dc from 2006-2008 I was made to clock out when I would pump because my child was breastfed and I had postpartum depression and they denied my fmla and fired me one week after I returned.

    Reply
  3. Tiny Weaver

    I was demoted and coached for doing something I didn’t know was wrong. I had see things done by successful shift managers. But when I was told that I was wrong and what was going to happen to me. I ask why wasn’t this addressed when I made you aware of it months earlier. I would not have gotten in trouble for it. Here is the problem. I have always been made aware on a daily basis about my race. I am an American Indian. I am one of two minorities in the whole district that holds a second to the top position. I have been poked fun of by 2 different store managers. Even after attending my son’s funeral my store manager asked me where were all the people with the feathers. I have held my head down and I have worked hard. I have been with Walmart for a total of 17 years. I did not deserve this. I need help!!!! I hope you can help me.

    Reply

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