What financial impact do you think the lawsuit could potentially have on Wal-Mart? Do you thinkthe women deserve to win their lawsuit? What if the outcome of the case cost Wal-Mart so much it had to lay off thousands of its workers and close stores?
Wal-Mart being the largest retailer in the world boasts of owning more than 8400 stores. Majority of the stores are in The United states roughly about 3500 stores while others are in other countries such as Canada, Brazil, China, Chile, Mexico, United Kingdom, Honduras as well as having an impressive 40% share of Japanese supermarket chain, SEIYU. They have worldwide market and this translates to consistent business flow. During the year 2010, the company reported sales of $408.2 billion and net profit of $14.3 billion. These figures illustrate how well the financial status of the company is thus they have the ability to employ over 2 million employees worldwide.
The women suing the company for sexual discrimination in the work place in the form of being denied and delayed promotions as well as receiving significantly lower salary compared to their male counterparts even though their performances are better.In the event Wal-Mart loses the case it will have to pay heavily to the affected women in the lawsuit, which could possiblycripple the company or even bankrupt it. However I believe the company would still remain in business even after closing some of its stores and employee layoffsin order to adjust the financial books.
What are the major moral complaints of the females suing Wal-Mart? Do you believe these complaints are justified? Why? Wal-Mart has said that the case should not be heard as a class action but that each woman should be considered individually and an individual determination should be made regarding whether she specifically was discriminated against by Wal-Mart, because each womanssituation is different. Do you agree?
The complaints by the women in the lawsuit were that their promotionswere delayed and were paid significantly lower wages compared to the men in the company. The complaints were justified since the company policy was that it forbade any form of discrimination either in the form of gender or academic and every employee was to be given an equal opportunity. In the same spirit, promotions should therefore be awarded on merit and quality performance of work. In this case, women performed better than the men at Wal-Mart but still had to be contented with lower salaries and fewer promotions.
Wal-Mart wanted the case be dealt with individual cases instead of the class action. However, I disagree. The class action was an outright win for the women and since this was the largest civil suit in America, everyone was watching. I believe this is a tactic by the company to save money as well as protect its reputation since negative reviews are bad for business which can be difficult to recover from once damaged. This will allow the company to pay off the women quietly in compensation. The only problem is that the case would be time consuming and would take many years to conclude.
What factors do you think might account for the Drogin report uncovered?
The Drogin report brought out the actual evidence of discrimination in the womens case. The report found a consistent pattern in the hourly pay rates where women were paid less in each department. Also, the Drogin report uncovered that there were fewer women in the salaried department where the earnings are significantly higher. Moreover, it took a longer time for women to be promoted even though their performances were better and had longer working experience in the company.
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?
Wal-Mart should ensure that the rules against discrimination be expressly stated and followed by conducting random performance checks assessing whether goals set by mangers in achieving a more gender equal work place in order to correct these discrepancies. Managers evaluate the promotion progress on merit allowing women to get salaried jobs like their rival companies. The company should institute an affirmative action promotion program specifically designed to address the female employees in its workforce. Promotion announcements should be well advertised in the company through emails and memos in line with the program requirements. Thecreation of an employer employee forum should follow suit where grievances can be aired freely without fear of repercussions in order to create a healthy working environment.
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