The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has allegedly indicated that Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) discriminated against 178 female employees. In memos seen by The Wall Street Journal, the workers were allegedly paid less and denied promotions because of being women.
Walmart accused of systematic discrimination
The commission has asked the retailer, and the workers who filed the complaints come into a fair resolution of the matter. This will include a settlement as well as reforms to the retailer’s practices. If the parties fail to resolve, then the agency will have no choice but file a lawsuit against Walmart.
The determination by the EEOC is a huge win for current and former Walmart employees who have sought damages for almost two decades from the store for discrimination. In 2001, employees of the retailer pursued a class-action lawsuit against the store for systematically underpaying female workers and offering them fewer promotions. However, the Supreme Court ruled against the group in 2011, stating that they had little in common to institute a single class of petitioners.
Since then, the company has seen around 1,900 women pursue cases and file charges with the agency against the retailer for gender discrimination. The EEOC has stated that for the 178 women in consideration, there is reasonable cause to believe that they were denied promotions or paid less or both because of their sex.
Walmart ready to engage the employees
Walmart spokesman, Randy Hargrove said that the retailer told the EEOC that it would cooperate and engage in a conciliatory process despite most of the reasonable cause findings by the EEOC being non-specific and vague. He added that some of the cases were from 15 years ago and were thus not representative of the amazing experiences women employees have had working at the retailer.
The retailer is the US’s largest private employer with close to 1.5 million employees. A spokesman of the agency said they could not comment on the administrative process or investigations unless a suit is filed.
Usually, cases will drag at the agency which can take years before the EEOC releases finding or pursues a laws suit.