Memos from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) were made public last week, and they’re putting Walmart back in the spotlight. 178 female Walmart employees filed a complaint with the agency, which included concerns over being paid less than their male counterparts and denied opportunities to advance their careers.
In their documents, the EEOC asked Walmart and the women who filed the complaint to reach an agreement. A lawsuit could be filed by the agency if a settlement is not reached.
Walmart’s History of Gender Bias
These complaints are a familiar echo for the retail giant; the company has an unimpressive track record in regards to gender discrimination.
In 2001, six female Walmart employees filed a lawsuit against Walmart, claiming that the retailer discriminated against their 1.6 million female employees based on their gender. 10 years later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1.6 million women had too little in common to be grouped together.
In the wake of that ruling, over 1,900 women have individually worked with the EEOC. The agency determined that 178 of those women were probably discriminated against due to their gender.
These complaints are spread out over 30 states. This could point to Walmart’s gender discrimination issue as being organization-wide as opposed to it stemming from a few individual players.
Willing to Reconcile?
Walmart has come back with claims that the complaints do not represent the millions of women who have had positive experiences working at the company. The company also complains that the EEOC’s findings are unclear. Nevertheless, Walmart claims that they are willing to cooperate in resolving this conflict with all of the women.
Their willingness to resolve is, at least somewhat, promising. Perhaps a massive organizational assessment by an independent consulting company, and some workplace peacebuilding efforts would be of great use.