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Women Versus Walmart

Walmart women take their sex discrimination case to the Supreme Court. We’ll look at its potential impact.

A woman makes her way out of a Walmart store in Oakland, Calif., Feb. 22. (AP)

A woman makes her way out of a Walmart store in Oakland, Calif., Feb. 22. (AP)

The women of Walmart had their day before the Supreme Court yesterday. Whether their case goes forward is now the question.

It’s a class action suit on behalf of 1.6 million Walmart employees –- women. It’s the biggest employment discrimination class action in history.

If the high court waves it forward, every big company in the country could face tough class action challenges on pay and promotion policies, on equity. If it doesn’t, it could be every woman for herself against giant employers.

This hour On Point: Women. Walmart. And the stakes before the court.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

David Savage, reporter for the Los Angeles Times who covers the Supreme Court.

Wade Goodwyn, correspondent for NPR. He has reported on Walmart.

Kate Bronfenbrenner, labor economist and director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University.

Gerald Maatman, attorney and senior partner at  Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Walmart on behalf of Costco and the Society for Human Resource Management.

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  • Yar

    Women are different then men, they know how to organize. WalMart may win in court only to lose in the union hall. I wonder what a loss in court willd do to get a women only union going. I see this as the year of the union, not because I see organizing, because I see more exploitation than in anytime in the past 50 years. 4 dollar gas and food inflation must raise wages or something else has to give. My question is, would settling this case cost Walmart more than dealing with a women only unionized workforce at WalMart?
    The women of the triangle live on with the employees of Walmart.

  • AfghaniGirl

    Watched Gates and Hillary during Sunday Morning Shows.

    They are both pulling things out of their buttocks to justify “the regime change”.

    Condi Rice and Rumsfeld all over again.
    Hillary/Gates/AIPAC/Tel-Aviv …. their original decision was the Overthrow + Punish Ghadafi – he has said terrible things against Israel in the past … just Google.

    Why would Libyan soldiers kill their own people/civillians?

    Why would USA support a bunch of tribal primitively armed fundementalis guys to overthrow a government that is stable and recognized by United Nations and is supported by 95% of the secular, western oriented and educated (by American Teachers)?

    Look at the pictures of downtown Grosny in Chechnia when it was being bombed by Russian jets … oh my God … not a single apartment building without a hit … what the hell United Nations done when Russian were killing their own Civillian People?

    The armed rebels with machines guns on Toyota trucks getting close to Tripoli … the Libyan military is torn to pieces with American Tax Payer paid Bombs …. will they not kill civilians?

    Believe it or not they will supply weapons to the religious opposition; because Tel-Aviv favors Arabs killing Arabs, asap.

  • Anonymous

    If, as they claim, Walmart is too big to be sued, it is too big to be in business.

  • Bruce Guindon

    I always feel apprehension when something this important comes before this court, they are after all split on almost every issue and this time ideology is going to be less important than gender. This country is afraid that equality of the sexes may be come real that was evident in the last presidential election. Women have been held down in the work place as a matter of unwritten law for as long as there has been a country called The United States of America. The solution of course is that the women of America get militant and stand in mass against the power mongers who by the way are responsible for the collapse of the middle class and the ushering in of fascism and this court stands with the fascist

  • Nick from Massachusetts

    These sorts of abuses happen when you have so few companies in power that competition disappears. Ten years ago there were the five big block store chains but there were also dozens of middle size chains like Bradles, Ames, Caldors and so on. They are all gone. The Big Five rule the retail world and do what ever they want.

    That is what our country has become – corporate America sets the rules.

    Good luck to the women – I won’t shop at Walmart, have never liked to shop there.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I am allergic to this show. I think it’s because I think the treatment of women by employers tracks with the treatment of women by their own families. In other words, to the extent there is unfairness and discrimination by sex in the workplace, that is because families lay down the assumptions. Women shouldn’t be in the workplace. If they are, they have failed. If a family is so unfortunate as to have raised a daughter unable to find someone to provide for her for life, then they have to fork out money to educate her. But don’t educate her too much. You don’t want a successful woman out in the world. You want to show the world that it is a great shame to have a self-sufficient woman, another garret-dweller, another best-kept-invisible misery. So any female so unfortunate as to have to work at WalMart should just wear her lipstick and hope to attract one of you guys, presumably someone who can afford to keep her home like a bird in a golden cage.
    It makes me very proud to hear the male attorney representing the women. It makes me very proud to have three women Supreme Court justices addressing this case. But right now it’s about whether women constitute a “class.” Ye-gods!

  • g, buffalo, NY

    What I want to know is how is this going to change the field for the rest of the women working in corporate America.
    Does that mean that women working for any other big corporation can get together and file a class action lawsuit? Don’t you sign some kind of paper when you first get hired that says you can’t sue your employer?
    Thank you

  • g, Buffalo, NY

    Even if the women get their “class” classification and then win in court, I don’t know if its really going to change things for the rest of the women working in America.

    There is a law now that says that women HAVE TO get paid the same as men, if they have the same experience, education, etc.
    But it is so hard to prove that you have similar EXPERIENCE. It is such a non-tangible thing.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It would be a lot more profitable for the lawyers to take these cases one by one — except that how many WalMart greeters can afford to take a lawsuit even to the first level in the courts.

  • Monica

    As a discrimination attorney, I am watching this case closely. The way that discrimination law works is generally very favorable to employers. It is very hard to prove that women are treated differently than men because the definition of “similarly situated” employees for comparison is so narrow. That’s the main hurdle I see in this case is the vast cross section of Walmart’s workforce it addresses. If this is allowed, I hope that it has some effect of broadening the way these cases are litigated and widen the view the court takes from simple one on one comparisons to an overall view of the work environment.

  • Freeman Kirby

    Tom;
    Pure and simple “polarization” by the female sex. They want everything “except” fullfilling their responsibilities as wives and mothers.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I’m making an assumption that in workplaces where the women’s husbands are more economically secure, the women will be “allowed” more advancement. Statistics would show that.
    My job transcribing court cases for a couple of decades shows me a lot of men whose positions are not well-remunerated struggling to keep the respect of the women in their lives, and sometimes defaulting to domestic violence.
    I really don’t think the midlevel management at Walmart would be in that position, but the bubble-up from the grassroots would be that the families are more in need of a strong male provider than in need of a woman getting a rather small advancement. The families need more than an additional $20 a week.

  • g, Buffalo, NY

    Kirby,
    Yes, that’s women WANT – not to fulfill their roles as wives and mothers.
    Unlike so many men, who greatly DESIRE to fulfill their roles as husbands and fathers.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Women want to be bad mothers and bad wives. Absolutely. Wink-wink.

  • Charles

    Like the big banks are too big to fail, is Wal-Mart too big to sue?

    • Ellen Dibble

      To “be” sued — right.
      I’m sure WalMart would settle out of court and with the condition that the individual never reveal the terms of the settlement.
      Actually, I’m not sure. I don’t know what kind of records there are to track how many out-of-court settlements might have preceded this Dukes v Walmart case.

  • ThresherK

    “No thanks to the class action suit,” says caller Laurie, Walmart employee.

    And on the other side is the business ethos that says “If you ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin.”

  • Ellen Dibble

    Laurie who called in and said that she and all the WalMart employees where she had been employed had been treated fairly, paid equally to her husband she said — Laurie points out she is a professional. She is right about family reasons making it less likely for say a single mom to be real flexible about working hours. Or a married woman would be encouraged not to step forward for promotion if the man had the chance, I suppose. But where are the WalMart employees who were NOT treated fairly?
    Wouldn’t they have really too much to lose if they spoke up? There are ways of getting at an employee who already is earning so little that every 5 bucks per week is many meals forgone. Or there is meanness. You have to keep your head down if you’re being mistreated already.

    • ThresherK

      I’m guessing Walmart employees who were not treated fairly won’t call up without one of those voice scramblers.

    • Tina

      Ellen, Somewhere on NPR OR network TV within the past few days, a female Walmart employee was talking about what she was told she had to do to get a promotion. I wasn’t listening closely enough at first to hear if she’d already applied for promotions & been rejected. Anyway, she said she was told that she had to dress up, put on lipstick, wear high heels, maybe she was told to wear a dress, etc. Then she told us that that was just dumb because the job involved work that wouldn’t work with that kind of clothing, and didn’t really need that kind of makeup. Then, in those same few days, on TV, I saw a Walmart female employee who said that she HAD moved up in the company. She was extremely attractive naturally, appeared to have makeup on, and was nicely dressed. How many people have noticed how often seems that good-looking people get the jobs? There are not enough jobs, but you’d better be young and great looking to get what’s out there? It often seems like that’s what I see happening. Could there be a class-action suit against that concept? If the Walmart employees were willing to enter that concept into their suit (?! objectively, am I/am I not good-looking ?!? Who would want that answer in their records & probably burned into their own memory?!!), would a pattern emerge?

      I’ll tell you an equivalent. I come out onto a major street in an area of three hospitals four days/week. When I’m at a cross-walk in my car, waiting to turn right, I always yield to ANY pedestrian who is in the cross-walk. What I SEE, however, is this: about 90% of the people going straight (perpendicular to me) ONLY STOP WHEN SOMEONE IS YOUNG, THIN, AND PRETTY. It IS usually women who are walking, and the cross-walk is clearly marked AND clearly visible. Yet, anyone who is heavy, older, not visibly pretty can sometimes have to wait for four to seven cars to go by before someone stops! This is even true when they are visibly handicapped (cane/wheelchair). When someone is GORGEOUS, cars occasionally SLAM ON THEIR BRAKES — probably more to get a look than out of courtesy.

  • Elizabeth

    Your caller that was just on, the one who worked at Walmart along with her husband, sounds very suspect to me. She is most definitely not your typical Walmart employee. She was articulated and appeared to be educated. That is not the demographic at Walmart. She might be a Walmart CORPORATE employee but I doubt she was a cashier or stocker, as most female employees are.

    • JayB

      Methinks there may be any number of WalMart sock puppets floating about, both on the show and these forums….

      Gotta control that image, you know.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Another cultural difference between the rural and urban areas — or maybe anyplace. Here, for instance. A young woman making very little at this store or that will think it is the best approach to life to have more children, whether she is married or not. The society offers benefits per child. Mothering is a public service. Never mind that it is counter to religion to give up a child once it has been conceived. You don’t have to be Catholic to know that. So WalMart would be a two-year stint when money was particularly tight, and when those dollars, however few, were desperately needed.

  • Owen

    Just one question. How do these statistics compare to our society as a whole? If so, should Walmart be a vehicle for society’s social engineering? If we want to change culture bias, isn’t this the responsibility of Congress?

    • Ksamsamuels

      Its a responsibility of all of us. It can start with the courts, which will encourage businesses, and if that doesn’t work out, Congress needs to make a law. Just because there isn’t a quota law for women doesn’t mean there isn’t discrimination occuring.
      It’s not the responsibility of any one entity to protect justice and remove institutionalized discrimination. It’s everyone’s job.

  • ThresherK

    Tom, when dealing with a company the size of Walmart, can we get you to stop using scare numbers like “Maybe billions at risk in this lawsuit”?

    “Bbillions” sounds like a lot until compared to the sales receipts of Walmart over the number of years this suit covers.

  • Michael

    Walmart argues that the conduct in question is that of managers. But, ist walmart liable for the conduct of its managers through respondeat superior? Also will walmart be able to forward evidence of the wider work statistics because on average women only make 75 cents on the dollar against men?

    Michael- Vermont

  • Michelle from Iowa

    Walmart’s too big and diverse? The US Supreme Court can’t have it both ways. If a corporation is a “person” for the purposes of campaign laws, that “person” needs to be held accountable for inequities under his/her watch.

  • Claire

    Too big to fail, now too big to sue? Hear, hear, Charles

    Claire, Boston

  • BHA in Vermont

    It does make sense that if one wants to stay in a particular location, the opportunity for advancement is very limited. There are only so many managers needed in a given store. This is true of any business.

    • Ellen Dibble

      But who would stay rooted to a WalMart stocker’s job? I would feel very interested in moving to a better job.

  • Claire

    So, men are more willing to move and women aren’t so that’s why they’re 86% of the managers at this company?

    • Ellen Dibble

      Maybe single mothers are more intertwined with support networks that take many years to develop. I doubt WalMart women are suffering from the homeowner with underwater housing syndrome.
      But I think single mothers move quite a bit, actually, in order to FIND better housing, better supports. My impression from what I’ve read.

      • Adele

        But you don’t move if the only welfare motel you can afford is on the only bus line that takes you to work (since you can’t even afford a car).

  • Tina

    Even MORE reasons to dislike the Big Box stores: IF we only shopped at local stores and/or local mini-chains, people COULD rise up within the organization because there would NO excuse that the employee wouldn’t move across country & therefore couldn’t get a promotion. Falling for the notion of Low Prices was ALWAYS a snare & a delusion! It sent our jobs overseas; sometimes got us products made with illegal materials (lead on toys); it lost our country its experience in manufacturing, which, at the home level, is equivalent to no one knowing how to cook anymore. You think we saved ANY money? Big Box stores COST US our experience, our communities, our trades …. it cost us THE MOON!!

    • Ladyday

      Local stores aren’t always a panacea to parity in promotion either.

  • g, Buffalo, NY

    Sounds like MEN need to be picking up the slack in the families.

    Women wouldn’t feel that they couldn’t move or stay late and work more, if there was support – BY MEN – in their families.

    Hey Kirby, sounds familiar?!

  • ThresherK

    The labor guest beat me to it: Impoverished employment? At Walmart, it’s a feature, not a bug.

  • g, Buffalo, NY

    Single mothers are an ever increasing demographic and if companies won’t accommodate this LARGE group of people, they won’t survive.

    You change with the times, or you die. Just like dinosaurs. :)

  • ThresherK

    Willard from Milw, right now, suggesting that each individual store be sued?

    My instinct tells me that Walmart is quite capable of just shutting down a store and (being a corporation) leaving nobody left to sue should this be pursued.

  • R. Morgan

    If we explored a living wage for every worker, then breakdown of who gets what kind of benefits, promotion, opportunity, etc. isn’t relegated to universalizing the gender experience in the workplace. There will still be issues of human resource management and discrimination but creating an equal foundation for labor is a good starting point.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I think universal health care would be a good starting point. Then a 20-employee local store wouldn’t have to be scrambling to provide insurance. THAT would not be an issue. And you could hire someone with, say, diabetes without getting punished.

      • Tina

        Did everybody hear the news, last week, that Norway has the highest number of business start-ups worldwide; much higher than USA. Their unemployment is only about 3 %; their taxes are high, but individuals get something they will probably need in their lifetimes funded by what they pay in taxes — health care, day care for kids &/or elderly family members, new baby parental leave, at least 4 weeks vacation/year (I think). Many of those who create start-ups don’t NEED jobs, statisticians believe, but start new businesses because they have an idea; AND then, because they don’t need to pay into the safety net for each of their workers thru their businesses because the govt. has already created THOSE systems, the businesspeople are pretty much “cleared” to give their business ideas the go ahead. I’m guessing that there are sound environmental regulations in place, because most Norwegians love and honor nature.

        We, in the USA, however, are still operating as if we live under the class-structured British Empire during colonial times, when many of the regulations were worked out between the Crown & the businesses chartered by the Crown, as these chartered businesses went out worldwide to take land & exploit labor. We never really left the British Empire (no matter our own family ancestries), in my reading of it, and right now, we have horrid income inequity as just one piece of evidence to show that we’ve taken, or, BEEN LED DOWN, the wrong path.

        That millions of parents have to FEAR that the day care they find for their kids or older parents might be abusive and/or neglectful is just one part of the Walmart women’s employment considerations, I would guess; and in those fears, they are joined by millions of other American families. After getting rejected for placement for my father because he ALREADY had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, we finally found a place, only to have to take him out of there because the staff did not even change his clothes for the first four days. I had been going back and forth from New England to Florida to help my mom with finding care, and eventually placement, for my dad for about 4-5 years. My young child was in school up north where her dad lives & works; my re-schooling was up north; lots of situations conspired to make the only answer be that I travel back & forth as frequently as I could to help out, borrowing money from my mom, as my income wouldn’t support so much travel. Families split by geography and by choice, OR, sometimes by no choice of their own, need something to be easier for them when hard circumstances present themselves.

        If we can have a national guard and a national military, WHY can’t we have national, quality day care for kids, the elderly, and the disabled? I don’t mean that the schooling should be militaristic, I mean, how come we can’t employ, deploy, and assess the people necessary to do the things that need to be done other than when it involves armaments? I was in central PA this weekend visiting relatives. We passed so much rural poverty — it was matched, in PA, by the urban poverty I saw on a trip thru Philadelphia in 2003 (I’m ONLY talking about what I, a single individual, managed to see just by looking out a car window!!) WHY is there so much desperate poverty in America?! We saw a man in central PA who was struggling to get up his stairs with what appeared to be a grocery bag. (He was actually inaccessible to us because we were on a major highway & a river also came between us, or I would have asked that we stop to help.) I could easily guess at why there were so many old, broken engines on his lawn, sprawled out with snow still clinging to their north sides.

        Why can’t we have a national service corps that would teach young people how to HELP and how to BUILD, rather than just how to go to war. I apologize to those who ARE serving, risking their lives to serve, but you deserve more CHOICES in how to serve your country! If you could get trained in how to repair that older man’s front porch as PART OF your public service time, if you could learn how to repair those old engines, etc., etc., we could WORK on changing the environment of poverty; train & educate young people; set up relationships between young and old! Some of the public service training could even be about how to use a computer (for poor kids whose families cannot afford a home PC) so that those young kids then could go to the poorest areas of America and teach the elderly poor how to use computers. Right now, America seems to ask its young, strong, eager kids to serve thru the military, thus ensuring that many of those kids who go up in rank will think service means military intervention again, generation after generation. Meanwhile, families who aren’t wealthy will still wonder how to keep their kids safe & get them educated if both parents have to work. Meanwhile, old men & women will risk their health & safety by climbing stairs that need repair because all the young people left the region or the city, or the young people don’t know how to do the kind of work that is needed, because they haven’t had the training. How many of these Walmart women are clinging on desperately to systems that the USA refuses to look at systematically? Really, other countries make SOME of the stuff these women have to endure a LOT easier, a LOT safer, and a LOT more accessible to true evaluation regarding quality.

        Please, grow UP, America, and stop playing the GAME called, “I’m Free!” It’s a snare & delusion; and the Norwegian situation I heard about suggests that solutions are NOT beyond us human beings — the excuse about “human nature” doesn’t work in my book; we just have to face the facts about WHAT LIVES LOOK LIKE: generally speaking AND specifically. We sure can “picture” gruesome murders and mayhem in TV and movies and even in the new-ish medium of video “games” (a NEW medium, & already it is laden with violence & overt sexuality, much of it more sordid than about loving relationships!); but, whenever our politicians are asked to picture solutions to life’s most consistent issues, they come up empty. There is NO excuse for this; none! I’m beginning to suspect that my cancer is getting worse, so I often picture what I’ll see when I get to “come back” to check out what’s happening here on Earth. I’m really clear about this — I do NOT want to see the same old problems left unsolved here in America! This court case by the Walmart women isn’t really getting to some of the issues I’ve mentioned, but I’ll bet that those issues DO underly their basic needs on a regular basis.

        This winds up to be another one of my long pieces; I apologize for that; thanks for reading this, if you did! Comments welcome, tho I may not write back due to my schedule. Thanks, everybody!

      • Hman247

        I think you have too much time on your hands for as much as you have blogged. But that is what makes you such a good socialist. Please move to France. They have universal healthcare and very little healthcare innovation. And you can wait 3 days in the ER the next time you have a sore throat.

  • Ezra

    not only is the absence of unions a reason for rampant discrimination, but the reason for class action lawsuits. It’s one of the most effet alternatives to collective bargaining. But it’s reactive, not proactive. Like mama said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  • g, Buffalo, NY

    Almost every company in US has a disproportional number men vs women in upper management.

    Not every company is going to be sued.

    I think the company that treats their employees unfairly, period, will face that risk.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Gina, “face that risk”? Of being sued?
      I think that a big problem of equalizing the opportunity in the workforce is due to the very fact of very different situations. Only when you have a vast institution like WalMart do the statistics begin to be unequivocal.
      One by one, it becomes prohibitively expensive either to the underpaid woman or to a lawyer who is hoping to win attorney’s fees from the employer upon winning the suit, who sees a potential very costly loss if he/she gets blocked along the way.
      And one by one, I think a good lawyer could crush most cases of what might look like discrimination. It is only when pooled together that you see the edge that is being given to men. One by one, good lawyering can keep the employer out of trouble. One by one, it looks like judgment calls, not necessarily discrimination. But a pattern emerges, not too surprisingly, when viewed as a class.

  • Anonymous

    The class action should only include workers at the specific stores that the plaintiffs worked at

  • Markus

    One problem with evaluating companies by percentages is it shifts the burden of proof to the company to prove it’s not discriminating. This sounds ok especially for a large company with lots of lawyers. But the reality is small companies will be attacked as well and don’t have the staff lawyers or money to fight these. Lawyers will create their own markets. Some of these companies will go out of business, some will never start because of this one additional burden, some will go just by the numbers. Then of course, you’ll have African Americans, Hispanics and possibly other groups bringing in their own lawsuits, with justification based on the numbers. It soon becomes defacto unionization where merit takes a back seat to getting the numbers right.

    BTW, I dislike Walmart, and in particular, what they do to small stores, but there are parts of the US and the world where Walmart’s prices make a huge difference in the ability of people nearby to even feed their families. And the upper management I’ve known seemed very focused on their mission to raise their customer’s standard of living, at a profit for Walmart, of course.

    • Adele

      I think if, over time, employers showed good-faith efforts to promote from the various groups, it wouldn’t be a burden. Besides, Hispanics, African Americans, and other groups are half WOMEN, too. The point is that the WOMEN are not being treated fairly. There is no affirmative action for getting any-color WOMEN into the management ranks, and apparently no sanctions against managers who keep promoting only, or almost only, the men (of any color).

  • Markus

    One problem with evaluating companies by percentages is it shifts the burden of proof to the company to prove it’s not discriminating. This sounds ok especially for a large company with lots of lawyers. But the reality is small companies will be attacked as well and don’t have the staff lawyers or money to fight these. Lawyers will create their own markets. Some of these companies will go out of business, some will never start because of this one additional burden, some will go just by the numbers. Then of course, you’ll have African Americans, Hispanics and possibly other groups bringing in their own lawsuits, with justification based on the numbers. It soon becomes defacto unionization where merit takes a back seat to getting the numbers right.

    BTW, I dislike Walmart, and in particular, what they do to small stores, but there are parts of the US and the world where Walmart’s prices make a huge difference in the ability of people nearby to even feed their families. And the upper management I’ve known seemed very focused on their mission to raise their customer’s standard of living, at a profit for Walmart, of course.

  • Anonymous

    Just because businesses don’t have 50/50 gender separation doesn’t mean that they discriminate. Naturally women will hold fewer management positions because the number of women that leave the work force for child bearing is far greater than Men. Not to mention the number of women that take time off to take care of the kids vs men is higher.

    To make management arbitrarily 50/50 by gender would be reverse discrimination and sexist by definition.

    This is a choice of putting family above carrier which I applaud.

    • Adele

      it’s nowhere near 50/50. That’s the point. Walmart isn’t even TRYING to make it look fairer.

      Women wouldn’t have to take so much time off if men could take time off, too. The point is that the policies are unfair to single parents. And to single mothers, in particular, since they’ll almost never get the chance to be promoted, even when their kids are grown enough NOT to need babysitters or other child care. And no matter how many years of seniority they have in the company. That’s the point.

      • Anonymous

        If the class action suit wasn’t sexist in and of itself, why doesn’t it also include all males that fit into the same selection criteria? I can tell you why, because the suit is based on the sex of the worker, not the discrimination alleged.

        • walk in their shoes

          gee, were some men passed over for promotions for not wearing makeup too?

          • Anonymous

            I am pretty sure there were! You should really look into it! Or maybe they were wearing too much makeup!

      • walk in their shoes

        you mean if men WOULD take time off

    • Kelley

      but if I don’t have children, am a woman that has worked there for a long time, and I still didn’t have a promotion, why do I need to suffer for YOUR discrimation in labeling me a babymaker?
      Women manager’s protect women employees, by being role models and modeling policy that makes sense. If “families” are to be protected, start with the mothers.

      • Anonymous

        Someone that has a limited work schedule and has to be off at X time on weekdays and takes 3-6 months off every 3 years should not be paid the same as someone that works all hours needed without restrictions and takes their standard vacation. This is not discrimination! This is life. The sex of the person in either of the scenarios above DOESN’T matter!

        Promotions should be made on merit and to have racial, or sexual quotas diminishes some group of people and they get less respect because they are thought of as tokens that only got the position because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Without quotas people would know that the people who were advanced were advanced because of their ability, not their need.

      • Anonymous

        Someone that has a limited work schedule and has to be off at X time on weekdays and takes 3-6 months off every 3 years should not be paid the same as someone that works all hours needed without restrictions and takes their standard vacation. This is not discrimination! This is life. The sex of the person in either of the scenarios above DOESN’T matter!

        Promotions should be made on merit and to have racial, or sexual quotas diminishes some group of people and they get less respect because they are thought of as tokens that only got the position because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Without quotas people would know that the people who were advanced were advanced because of their ability, not their need.

  • Glenn K.

    Look, WalMart is the Pied Piper of Low Prices. That’s all they advertise – they have the lowest prices. They have taught the public to care about nothing else than being cheap, let’s face it!
    Well, it’s no mystery that to undercut everybody on prices, corners are going to be cut somewhere!
    As consumers, we’re playing both ends agains the middle. We want low prices for everything, yet we want wages to be fair? By buying there we are pressuring WalMart and the economy in general to be cheap! They are acting on our behalf, essentially.
    We as shoppers need to get better at looking “behind the curtain” so to speak. The “wizard” back there can’t make something from nothing!
    And the government can’t keep doing this for us. Sure the Supreme Court case is important. But in the long run, it can’t protect us from everything! We have to come to terms with our own behavior, and take action ourselves.
    True, local businesses aren’t always the best, either. So, apply the same standards. Demand transparency where you shop! If you don’t get it, shop elsewhere or push for it. In the long run, the power is in your pocket. Every dollar you spend is a vote … for the society, the culture, the world you want to live in. It’s not just election day in November. Citizenship is a daily challenge.

    • Adele

      If Walmart’s the only store for 50 miles, where are you gonna shop for the kids’ diapers when you need them? You talk as if choice is available to everybody, while the thumb screws down on the poor.

      We can’t just use “market forces” to address flat-out discrimination against half the people in this country (women). We need the force of law and its long arm to grab this cheating company by the neck and force it to play fair. Like thousands of other companies are trying to do. This is a deliberately ALLOWED policy. Not that it’s stated anywhere in Walmart’s Affirmative Action statement, of course.

      That’s why we need the courts. Too bad there are only three women on the Supreme Court–as Tom said, they DO get this case. I wonder why.

  • jiml

    Walmart achieved its size on the backs of the large number of women in its work force and, perhaps, its labor practices toward women.

    Walmart’s size now should not make it immune from the class action suit to determine if its labor practices were improper.

    A class action suit is the best way to even the playing field between the compaintants and Walmart.

    An even playing field is what concerns Walmart and other companies who have been discriminatory in their labor practices.

  • LRob

    Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton were on the board of directors at Wal-Mart picking up some fat paychecks, they didn’t seem to have a problem with Wal-Marts policies.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Betcha they had no idea about the policies. In fact, I suppose these were not “policies”; they were facts on the ground, so to speak. The result of entrenched attitudes, not the result of someone’s written or stated policy. And if Clinton and Obama wanted to look below the surface and see if women were treated differentially, they would have a hard time getting at the statistical realities, because they are, as was pointed out, unique individual, with unique situations. This emerges over time, and more often rises from the grassroots than comes from the board of directors. If you were a woman scrambling for the kind of possibilities WalMart offers, would you be taking that over your immediate supervisor with all the clout, over the grievance procedures, over the levels of corporate self-protectionism their lawyers have been putting up for decades, and present that to the board of directors? I don’t know exactly how this case came to be. I don’t have a clue. But I am not surprised that two female lawyers, Clinton and Obama, did not pre-resolve this matter.

      • LRob

        Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama were paid off to look the other way, what in the term paid off don’t you understand?

        • Ellen Dibble

          Prove it. The word “libel” swishes through my skull.

          • LRob

            So stating a fact is now considered libel in Obama’s America? People like you scare me.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I didn’t say it was libel. I asked for proof.

        • Cory

          Trodlodyte?

        • Walk in their shoes

          gee, would even Hillary or Michelle have that much power to change things for Walmart women? Now if women like Hillary and Michelle lack power . . .

          • MoniqueDC

            If Clinton and Obama started using their media exposure to educate the public about the condition of women in America..it would make a difference.    If they warned Walmart that they would ask for boycotts or expose practices of which they were aware, it would make a difference. 

    • Cory

      Yeah! Damn democrat party…

    • walk in their shoes

      gee, ya think the men of walmart came out and said, hey Michelle, hey Hillary, we pass over women for promotions, especially if they don’t wear makeup!

    • MoniqueDC

      Indeed… very few women are on Boards….and the ones who are there… WHAT ARE THEY DOING?   They can ask for personnel data, they can lobby for more objective treatment for women, they can insist on living wages.   

      How can we find out if Clinton and Obama espoused these views?

  • kellie paige

    I detest Walmart. I will not shop there. There was an article in our local paper the Spokesman Review about a local woman who worked for Walmart. She desperately needed dental work. She couldn’t afford it. The paper did a follow up story and she had died leaving her impoverished family to struggle on. My heart breaks for these people who are trapped in poverty. Walmart is nothing but a huge parasite, sucking the life out of these people. SHAME SHAME SHAME>>>>

    • Hman247

      What does Wal-mart and dental work have anything to do with each other? Wal-mart associates are not slaves. They have the freedom to work anywhere. I think you are allowing journalists dictate your thoughts of the issue.

      • walk in their shoes

        so where does an uneducated, unskilled worker find good dental insurance these days?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Only the main OnPoint website lets you access this show/comments. At the Past Shows, it doesn’t come up.
    Once you open The Lives of the Super Rich, the WalMart show disappears from the upper right corner as a choice. It appears to be a one-show day.
    Just, monitors, if you want to fix it and know how, feel free.

  • Charlotte, Columbus, Ohio

    Walmart stores post how much their employees contribute to charities across the nation, but they also are reputed to refer their own underpaid employees to all manner of social services to make up the difference for lack of decent health care and a living wage. This from a family willing and able to plunk down millions for impressionist paintings now that they’ve made the bigtime.

    They also boast that they maintain an in-stock guarantee. Yet I have tried for a month now to get the simple cotton Mainstays mophead to no avail at their store on South High Street in Columbus, Ohio. Their local manager, a male, has been no help whatsoever. But then women looking to buy cotton mopheads don’t qualify as important compared with men buying electronics on his pay scale, do they?

    Go, sister, go. And I’m not spending another penny at Walmart until Walmart cleans up its gender act.

  • Ellen Dibble

    What I’d really like is a comparison of US treatment of women to other nations. Right now I’m thinking about Romania, and there is a certain Saxon town near the Carpathians that I’ve read about, and I’m thinking I’d have to go there and drink a lot of coffee before I found the women to talk to, and I’m thinking rather than spend the jet fuel, I’ll dream about a sort of Romanian female penpal, or other nations I’m dreaming about. Another generation would know how to do this maybe, but I don’t. If I e-mailed a small “pension” in a small town/city in this country or that, could I expand my global familiarity for clearer perspective than I could by traveling? Could we all?
    Why do I ask here? Someone posted that we are the world’s super rich. Even at WalMart we are vastly more secure than say the women of the Congo, or those in parts of Eastern Europe where success means being sold as a prostitute, unsuspectingly so. I mean, I don’t know what to believe. Women of the world, unite; use the global instant translation capacities of Google, if you know how, and chat. But how?

  • Adele

    If you haven’t read “Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America,” by Barbara Ehrenreich, go ahead and do it right now. It’ll show you what it’s like to work at Walmart and at other low-paying jobs, where employees are paid to be poor.

    The case against Walmart is important because these de facto discriminatory policies exist not just in discount retail stores but in corporate law firms, university hospitals, and most institutions in our society where women are in the minority as managers. Interestingly, in professions like nursing and teaching, which were traditionally dominate by women (in the 20th century at least), these problems exist to a far lesser extent.

    • Laurieaheimann

      I work at walmart and have to say that they are very competitive with their pay rates and I have worked in a union job and would rather work for walmart.

      • Acornkc

        well all the research and the statistics and the 1.6 million are apparently wrong – those silly low income, hungry working stiffs.

        How much do you make at wal-mart? Do you use their info on getting food stamps?

  • Concerned Consumer

    It is sad when people with good intentions do not have their facts. I am disappointed with NPR for not presenting a better call-in panel for better debate. I hate that people choose to think the worst. Yes I am a conservative LIBERAL, educated with a M.Ed. Degree before someone says differently.
    1. Do you really think that 1.6 million women were discriminated against and the nations largest retailer allowed it? Come on. Do you think that the idea for “free money” had something to do with that (in a repressed economy) or possible the people did not read or understand the document that was presented.
    2. Has anyone taken into account that Walmart does a three panel interview for for hourly associates and salaried manager “new hire” interviews as well as promotions. The first panel for hourly associates are conducted by HOURLY ASSOCIATES. They are the first level decision makers before it goes to salaried managers. Anyone that has applied for a job at Walmart knows this.
    3. Walmart outsources other companies to make fair un-biased decisions for Workman’s Comp, unemployment, “pay disputes”, allegations of unfair treatment, health accommodations, and other “hot button” claims to protect their associates. Yes I am sure Walmart executives are aware that they can be sued but could they still practice their core beliefs that made that company great.
    4. Compare Walmart pay and benefits for all associate levels agains the retail industry standards and then speak out as an informed person. People who work there are not performing “brain surgery” and some of those associates that wore the blue smocks are making as much as a police officer or a school teacher. It is RETAIL. The NEW YORK TIMES for God’s sake a caller based her information on. I can cite sources and post them as facts. I am sure that I can state a fact that 4 million Americans are strongly against caffeine usage if those 4 million people polled were members of the Mormon Church. My Mormon friends are fine people so I hope there is no offense to that comment. Facts can be made to support anything.
    5. The Unions did a lovely job with companies in the North. I shutter to think what would happen to Walmart if they became unionized. When the Unions are losing operational money and participant support, look who they are targeting for now. Do you really think they care about Walmart associates as much as Walmart? Please. Its all about money and power.
    6. To the comment that listed the poor soul ( which I do grieve for her and her family) that died and needed dental work, did she apply from Walmart’s Associate in Critical Need fund that I read about in my Business Class. It uses Walmart as a business model studied. There may be more to the story yet again that was not reported. I suggest reading “The Framework of Understanding Poverty” by Ruby K. Payne as a resource as many school districts use as required reading for staff.

    I could go on and on. If you are going to make comments, make them factual. Judging the whole entire Walmart company is as bad as stating that “All BAPTIST are mean spirited”. IT IS NOT TRUE! THEY ARE NOT. That comment is a slap in the face to those wonderful, kind, and loving people because you met a poor representative of their faith. MANY OF THE COMMENTS PEOPLE HERE HAVE MADE ARE THE SAME. I am sure that there are isolated incidents of people being treated unfairly in a HUGE company as Walmart. I am sure they shutter themselves in isolated cases when they hear about how they are represented sometime, however, I am sure they make the correction immediately to prevent it from happening again.

    Thank you Walmart and your millions of associates for all you have done for us consumers.

    • Ellen Dibble

      From the perspective of a balanced discussion, it is really too bad, Concerned Consumer, that you couldn’t participate in the discussion during the show, when people were ready to point out the strengths and weaknesses of either position. Now, when you say,
      “I can cite sources and post them as facts. ”
      I can only say: Show me the sources and facts.
      I believe it was the chief justice Roberts who was saying yesterday that it’s too bad when we have to argue based on statistics. Statistics is not the same as facts. I have tried to argue that some things never surface on a case-by-case basis, leading to a situation where class action alone can point to certain things. Its like why do wolves die out and become extinct? This one was weak, this one was rash, those were uncooperative, those had bad luck. But taken as a whole,, they were situationally deteriorating beyond an acceptable level. Something similar is happening for American unskilled labor, especially certain parts, such as vulnerable women with very few choices.
      Hopefully your “sources and facts” will make their way to the floor of the Supreme Court, and I wait to hear about it.

      • A Realist

        Ellen, the problem is that you can explain away many individual situations. However, there is no way a company can have a workforce made of two-thirds women and only 14% of them in management jobs unless you impose discriminatory policies, discriminatory practices, and a culture that fails to hold leaders accountable for achieving more balanced results. No way. You don’t get outcomes this lopsided by accident.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Well said.

    • Adele

      1. Yes, I do think most of the 1.6 million Walmart women employees were discriminated against, if 86% of the managers are men. It’s not even close to 50/50, and if the top management wasn’t aware of that, they should have been and should have insisted on more-evenhanded promotions (e.g., job performance, seniority).

      2. Is the panel system unbiased, or weighted toward those whom the boss favors? And, are hourly associates making decisions on promotions to manager-level jobs? Or are only the (male) managers making the hiring decisions to promote? Only the final decision matters.

      3. Does Walmart outsource its HR decisions to avoid accountability? So it can claim “it wasn’t us”?

      4. Yes, the retail industry is dominated by female workers. Walmart is the largest retailer. The suit is therefore important because, if it goes forward, other female retail workers who are getting screwed in wages and promotions may finally get a chance to raise themselves up. The rising tide against Walmart will lift all boats. We can only pray.

      5. Unions are only “targeting” unfair labor practices. Walmart workers should vote to unionize, ASAP. Of course, those who’ve tried have risked losing their jobs. So, it’s a catch-22.

      6. The “associate’s” supposed to look in a manual to find help for a critical need? Medical and dental benefits should be automatically provided, and not just by Walmart. That’s one reason why poor people stay poor.

      If Walmart really analyzed its managerial staff (and cared), if would see that more women needed to be promoted and would fix that problem. Hasn’t done it yet. Yes, the company sure shows its values: low prices, undercutting local stores that treat workers more fairly. Meanwhile, good women at Walmart are getting passed over for a better chance to support their families.

      • Laurieaheimann

        unless you have worked at walmart and have experience with how they run their business you really have no idea except what you are told .

        • Margaret

          My mistake. I assumed these women involved in the lawsuit did all work for Walmart, some for long periods.

        • walk in their shoes

          gee, you must be high up on the Walmart food chain.

        • Ellen Dibble

          A lawyer who took this case on would be extremely careful before considering it was worth his time and money. I doubt he/she/they interviewed millions of employees. I doubt all management were interviewed. But you can be sure that any employee’s concerns about “I have no idea except what I’ve been told” would have been front and center when the lawyers decided to proceed. Frivolous lawsuits don’t end up being heard in the Supreme Court.

    • Hman247

      Thanks for your respectful commentary. And I agree, the panel on NPR was pathetic and did not represent anyone connected to WM itself. But not surprised with NPR. They are as liberal warping as any radio station – only worse in that they don’t want to admit it. And I also agree with you, not every woman was discriminated against. This will open the flood gates for attorneys if this becomes class action. And we all suffer if that happens.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Hman, are you a woman? Great that you had a good experience working for
        WalMart. I’m thinking that the statistical appearance of differential
        treatment/discrimination probably bubbles up from the families/cultural
        milieu (see what I posted at the beginning of the day), and that supposition
        was pretty much validated by both what I heard and what I read. People
        (women) sometimes “buy into” traditional second-rate treatment without
        looking at the future statistics 10 years out with their Ouiji boards. That
        isn’t to say ALL women get slow-tracked. All women might be “more
        statistically likely” to get slow-tracked.
        It seems to me there is an issue whether social reverse-engineering can be
        achieved by further guaranteeing equal treatment as employees. I’ll go
        with John Roberts, if statistics is “all” that shows discrimination, that’s
        kind of pathetic evidence-wise. We all know how statistics talk out of both
        sides of the statistical envelope.
        So I hope that the “class” in this class action suit clearly reflects
        more specifically both those who put themselves through college via Walmart,
        who learned how to use a large institution as an elevator to the top, as
        well as those who found the opposite. Failures of the sort the women point
        to I tend to blame on a cultural bias toward promoting men, particularly in
        depressed parts of our economy. But leading employers should be leading
        onward and upward, not backward. That isn’t socialism. That’s keeping the
        capitalist beast in check.

      • walk in their shoes

        Perhaps you should sue Walmart too.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Floodgates? Discrimination has been in the courts as to equal opportunity
          for decades.
          I think attorneys in cases where they represent disadvantaged/wounded
          clients sometimes don’t work on retainers but rather take the case as a kind
          of gamble. If their clients win, the judgment/settlement either includes
          attorneys’ fees for the winning side, or the attorneys agree with the
          clients in advance to accept pay only if they win, and then the attorneys
          get a percent of the settlement. If the women were unionized (isn’t it
          discriminatory to allow only women into a union?), then the union would have
          resources, and the attorney would likely be paid up front and hourly rather
          than as a gamble. But an attorney who does a good job in front of a high
          profile court gets plenty of publicity which probably makes them wealthy
          eventually. If women have to appeal one by one, there would be more lawyers
          involved, more than one team, unless one lawyer went around like a
          circuit-riding attorney with a specialty in WalMart.

    • Walk in their shoes.

      You sound scared.

  • Cory

    Today’s topics are like shooting fish in a barrel! Walmart is guilty and the super rich suck… Nuf said!

  • Margaes290

    “If these women and their suit aren’t successful, they will be on their own”. My opinion is that when it comes to justice in this country, women are very often (?most often) on their own. I often feel that a lot of attention in the media is focused on the suppression/oppression of women in the Mid East, African nations, etc and not on the injustices to women in the USA . my own experience has been one of being terribly disenfranchised & please don’t dismiss me when I tell you that one of these experiences was in divorce court. A law had been passed around 1988 that anything a man agrees to in a settlement for a child will not have to be honored when the child turns 18, re education, medical, etc. if it is “merged into the family court doc. they formulated the law so as to read that because this isn’t a civil doc. it won’t be upheld. the wording must say ‘incorporated but not merged” My lawyer padded the bill up to $ 11, 000 for a nominal hearing , got my ex to pay him and actually whited out the wording that could have protected my children and put in the wording that gave him the power, which he used to get out of any financial responsibility. i tried every avenue of recourse without success.
    Good luck to these women. I have not shopped at a Walmart ever since I learned that some stores sell guns and ammo where they can & have been accessed from the isles by deranged people.
    Thank you
    Margaret

  • Margaes290

    “If these women and their suit aren’t successful, they will be on their own”. My opinion is that when it comes to justice in this country, women are very often (?most often) on their own. I often feel that a lot of attention in the media is focused on the suppression/oppression of women in the Mid East, African nations, etc and not on the injustices to women in the USA . my own experience has been one of being terribly disenfranchised & please don’t dismiss me when I tell you that one of these experiences was in divorce court. A law had been passed around 1988 that anything a man agrees to in a settlement for a child will not have to be honored when the child turns 18, re education, medical, etc. if it is “merged into the family court doc. they formulated the law so as to read that because this isn’t a civil doc. it won’t be upheld. the wording must say ‘incorporated but not merged” My lawyer padded the bill up to $ 11, 000 for a nominal hearing , got my ex to pay him and actually whited out the wording that could have protected my children and put in the wording that gave him the power, which he used to get out of any financial responsibility. i tried every avenue of recourse without success.
    Good luck to these women. I have not shopped at a Walmart ever since I learned that some stores sell guns and ammo where they can & have been accessed from the isles by deranged people.
    Thank you
    Margaret

  • Margaret Sohar

    I’m sorry, i made a mistake on my email.please see correction. don’t want that to prevent your posting it.
    margaret

  • Margaret Sohar

    I’m sorry, i made a mistake on my email.please see correction. don’t want that to prevent your posting it.
    margaret

  • david

    The only people who will benefit from this suit will be the the BIG FAT RICH LAWYERS. They get their money up front, the rest may see theirs years into the furure.
    If this succeeds, I AM afraid it will open up a pandora’s box of lawsuits against other businesses, in that case, we the public may pay the cost.
    In my state, Walmart is one of the biggest employers of minorities and older people and those without college degrees. They hire many people who cannot find better paying jobs due to lack of higher skills required by most empolyers today. Many work at Walmart just for the insurance.

  • Laurieaheimann

    I am a 9 year employee of walmart and wanted to let you know that each store is run individually. I have been in management and the way that pay is done is not based on gender it is based on experience and performance.

    • Lisajunesmail

      Sounds like you got lucky. Let me guess, you wear makeup?

    • Former Employee 10 years

      Stop fucking lying I worked there for 10 years and seen a lot of shit go down I’m tired of you managers trying to stick together tell the truth I seen people get into management who were not even qualified and that is why I never got into management I’m no ones fucking puppet and you managers are fucking puppets and you know it.When corp tells you to do something you fucking jump when they come to town to make them selves look great you beat on the little people so you can look so good.Makes me sick at least I treated my employees with respect you people are fake and you know it.Hate liars

    • Eme

      As a former Wal-Mart manager…I can say different. I tend to believe it a matter of geography..

  • Joseph

    Honestly I don’t think the women have a chance at all when the present Supreme Court. Scalia, Ailto, Roberts, Thomas (that’s four out of the nine right there) will be looking for any possible reason to come down in favor of a large corporation like Wal-Mart whatever the merits of the case and whatever the issue. That’s always been their agenda.

    With a solid one sided block like that to expect the remaining justices to be unanimous in favor of allowing the class action case to go forward is very wishful thinking. It’s just a question of how far the block of four corporate champions will be able to go in protecting Wal-Mart while still bringing that fifth vote, probably from Kennedy.

    • Keruzam75

      The nine members of the United States Supreme Courts, as of 2011, are as follows: John Roberts Jr., Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Breyer, Sanuel Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia, Elena Kagen, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas.

  • A Realist

    AT&T had a huge discrimination suit brought against it which resulted in a consent decree in 1970. I see no evidence that every other large company in the country has suffered because AT&T was held accountable for its blatant gender and race discrimination. If you limit the Walmart suits to store-by-store actions, you will lose all statistical impact (too few people to achieve significant results) or you will change the behavior of one manager instead of an entire culture. If the court does not allow this as a class action suit, and I’m sorry to say I’m not expecting this particular court to rule in favor of the women, then women working for the Walmarts of the world will have in practice no real legal remedies available to them. Individual women won’t have the resources to sue. It just won’t happen. Walmart will continue to impose job requirements that artificially limit women’s opportunities.

    • walk in our shoes

      If these women lose, you can bet they won’t be on their own. Sisterhood is a wonderful thing. If the battle is lost, the war will begin.

      • No1girl

        Curb your emotion and stay with the facts. .

        Fact:  the original suit was 5, Sisterhood NOW, expanded it to 1.6 million, allegedly discriminated for manegerial positions, and or opportunities.

        Fact:  Walmart’s population consists of 2/3 women and 1/3 men.

        Fact:  There is not 1.6 million managerial jobs in the entire organization, nor it can create that much opportunities every year.

        Sisterhood NOW [National Organization of Women] failed to grasp simple math.  Statistically impossible to create an en masse discrimination 1.6 million managers and it’s allegation are beyond the boundaries of truth.

  • Shari Garretson

    Welcome to the world of work without unions. If the women who believe they were discriminated against had a union to represent them, we wouldn’t have to tie up the courts with huge cases like this.

    • walk in our shoes

      So what’s stopping you from helping out if you feel so strongly that women should have unions?

    • Eme

      DO you know what happens when store employees attempt to unionize? First, the HO is alerted. A team of union busters hop on a plane and head for the store in peril. Then, this team of union busters take over the managerial duties and the store management team are not allowed to manage. They are not allowed to interact with the associates. Every communication is handled by team Wal-Mart. I kid you not…No Wal-Mart manager wants to be in that situation, so at all costs they try to avoid it…for the associate, they truly believe their actions will result in a union, but it never has….one major reason for their failure..is that not every associate is pro union. Any store can be divided 50/50. Now with all the changes, unionizing will be even harder.

    • No1girl

      National Organization for Women made a great mistakes by blowing the original 5 suits to 1.6 million class action suit. 

      According to the class action suit, 1.6 million women [instead of the original 5] working for Walmart were discriminated against management positions and, or opportunities for promotions.

      That would be statistically impossible.  Walmart hardly has 1.6 million management positions, nor expect to create that many every year to accommodate 100% women employees.

      If that were the case, what would happen to their male counterpart ? Walmart employs 2/3 women, and 1/3 men in this country.

      Statistically impossible.

      It’s an exaggeration that goes beyond statistical probabilities and beyond the parameters of truth.

  • Acornkc

    We created Wal-Mart. We want low prices and sacrificed our communities. Now it is time to create a solution:
    BOYCOTT WAL-MART.
    BOYCOTT WAL-MART
    BOYCOTT WAL-MART

    • LRob

      I like Wal-Mart because they have low prices that help the working poor attain the daily essentials that they need and they create lots of jobs. I worked at Wal-Mart while I was working my way through college, so stick that in your communist manifesto.

      • walk in our shoes

        gee, dazzle us with some more brillance!

      • Former Employee 10 years

        So you say you worked at Wal-Mart they must not have had any advancement for you or you would still be there 80% shit is from China so what is that say for quality Yes you are getting a cheap price but the stuff your getting is shit so stick that in your pocket hope these women win!!!

        • No1girl

          I have been in China so many times.  Walmart’s and other large retail companies like Target, Home Depot et al have trippled their procurements of Chinese made products every year.

          Take every major industry, say Steel  – China and Japan have literally taken this industry under our feet – better product at a cheaper price and fastest delivery ever.

          China’s market is not limited to USA  -  it’s all over the world.

  • Kelley Samuels

    How can you enforce policy that protects all of your employees if you don’t have members of the social group at the planning table??
    Of course they have been able to discriminate; maybe not at every store, but what prevents institutionalized sexism when there’s no voice for the oppressed?
    As a graduate student, its evident to me this suit represents justice, but the Supreme Court is no longer focusing on justice.
    Kelley

  • marymo

    Has anyone considered having the class action lawsuit represent parents in general instead of just women? Granted, women are the ones being discriminated against the most, but it is complex. As one of the callers pointed out, it is mostly single men that are being promoted. Perhaps the same benefit can be attained by approaching it from this angle. I would also recommend that someone consult with a representative from the group Mothers & More (see http://www.mothersandmore.org/Mothers_Issues/Statistics.php for some interesting statistics).

  • AfghaniGirl3

    Watched Gates and Hillary during Sunday Morning Shows.

    They are both pulling things out of their buttocks to justify “the regime change”.

    Condi Rice and Rumsfeld all over again.
    Hillary/Gates/AIPAC/Tel-Aviv …. their original decision was the Overthrow + Punish Ghadafi – he has said terrible things against Israel in the past … just Google.

    Why would Libyan soldiers kill their own people/civillians?

    Why would USA support a bunch of tribal primitively armed fundementalis guys to overthrow a government that is stable and recognized by United Nations and is supported by 95% of the secular, western oriented and educated (by American Teachers)?

    Look at the pictures of downtown Grosny in Chechnia when it was being bombed by Russian jets … oh my God … not a single apartment building without a hit … what the hell United Nations done when Russian were killing their own Civillian People?

    The armed rebels with machines guns on Toyota trucks getting close to Tripoli … the Libyan military is torn to pieces with American Tax Payer paid Bombs …. will they not kill civilians?

    Believe it or not they will supply weapons to the religious opposition; because Tel-Aviv favors Arabs killing Arabs, asap.

  • AfghaniGirl3

    Watched Gates and Hillary during Sunday Morning Shows.

    They are both pulling things out of their buttocks to justify “the regime change”.

    Condi Rice and Rumsfeld all over again.
    Hillary/Gates/AIPAC/Tel-Aviv …. their original decision was the Overthrow + Punish Ghadafi – he has said terrible things against Israel in the past … just Google.

    Why would Libyan soldiers kill their own people/civillians?

    Why would USA support a bunch of tribal primitively armed fundementalis guys to overthrow a government that is stable and recognized by United Nations and is supported by 95% of the secular, western oriented and educated (by American Teachers)?

    Look at the pictures of downtown Grosny in Chechnia when it was being bombed by Russian jets … oh my God … not a single apartment building without a hit … what the hell United Nations done when Russian were killing their own Civillian People?

    The armed rebels with machines guns on Toyota trucks getting close to Tripoli … the Libyan military is torn to pieces with American Tax Payer paid Bombs …. will they not kill civilians?

    Believe it or not they will supply weapons to the religious opposition; because Tel-Aviv favors Arabs killing Arabs, asap.

  • Hman247

    I worked at Wal-mart in high school in 1994 and made $8 an hour and a dollar premium on Sundays and Holidays. They paid better than any other grocery in town. I paid part of my way through college thanks to WM. They are great at rewarding hard work and responsible individuals. Most of the complaints I hear about Wal-mart are from people who have never worked at Wal-mart. This lawsuit has nothing to do with Wal-mart or women. Its just left wing nuts who want to beat down a big corporation. And you can thank unions for sending industry overseas. Just take a trip down to the southeast and educate yourselves on the jobs the union members have missed out on. I think this lawsuit is just another tale of how our society has become so self-absorbed in self-entitlement. If you don’t like your job, go hang your own shingle. And quit asking the government or the closest big corporation for a handout.

    • Walk in our shoes.

      Just curious, how would you respond if you were a woman and passed over for promotions by less experienced men? and then told “Maybe if you wore more makeup, you might get promoted?”

      Or if you simply can’t imagine being a Wal-mart woman, imagine being passed by for a promotion by a less experienced woman because she was young, sexy and wore makeup.

      I’m thankful I don’t work for Walmart. It’s bad enough for women who are educated and professionally employed.

    • Former Employee 10 years

      You suck you don’t know anything about Wal-Mart your just a kid prob was pushing carts to start highschool 1994 lol your just a baby you must not have been in the loop Wal-Marts been raping the country bet you don’t even know the history of Wal-Mart fool they been doing a lot behind peoples backs and getting away with it time to crack the whip.

    • Eme

      I know this is an old post, but..Wow, I find it hard to believe that you were paid $8 an hour in 1994 and you were in high school. What position did you work? I started with the company in Jan 1996 and was paid $4.25 and because I was a cashier, I was paid an extra .25cents and I was 35 years old with plenty of work experience. I did not make $8. until 2000, and I had to beg for it because I was asked to manage the layaway dept. I had to work two jobs to make $8 an hour. In 1996, the only people I knew of earning $8 were dept managers and full time male associates. Talk about wages was strictly forbidden, but some people did not care….and people talked. Also, you mention groceries..you must have been in a supercenter…they typically pay a little more, but not that much. In Texas the wages are low…regardless of what type of work you do… Interesting…

      • No1girl

        Not so unusual really.  I have some direct knowledge of the average weekly wages for Walmart employees, as manager of Underwriting Statistics and Actuary for large insurance company.

        When an employee got hurt on the job, a workers comp claim is reported, and if there are loss time involved, we need to make AWW competition.

        Yes, many are paid well at Walmart. 

  • Hman247

    I worked at Wal-mart in high school in 1994 and made $8 an hour and a dollar premium on Sundays and Holidays. They paid better than any other grocery in town. I paid part of my way through college thanks to WM. They are great at rewarding hard work and responsible individuals. Most of the complaints I hear about Wal-mart are from people who have never worked at Wal-mart. This lawsuit has nothing to do with Wal-mart or women. Its just left wing nuts who want to beat down a big corporation. And you can thank unions for sending industry overseas. Just take a trip down to the southeast and educate yourselves on the jobs the union members have missed out on. I think this lawsuit is just another tale of how our society has become so self-absorbed in self-entitlement. If you don’t like your job, go hang your own shingle. And quit asking the government or the closest big corporation for a handout.

  • AfghaniGirl

    When will Tom Ashbrook invite Richard Gage and look into the Collapse of WTC #7 on 9/11 5:20 pm that afternoon?

    When, When, When

  • Blackie

    walmart needs a union

    • Former Employee 10 years

      They won’t if you remember they try to do that in Canada and instead of listening to the people they shut the whole place down what does that say for them.

      • Bill

        It says Wal-Mart Didn’t feel like adding more corruption to their image, and more cost to their shoppers food bills. If you think Unions are anything but a business tacked on to a business, with the cost deferred to the consumer, You are fooling yourself. I have worked Union and I have worked without. I prefer to get screwed by one  group instead of 2, thanks.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Gotta say this show is relevant to me. A renter downstairs is moving to a better job in San Francisco in a couple months, a chef job, so her apartment is available as a step up for me (and big enough to share with a certain three nephews all in college studying engineering in various permutations, with housing enough of an issue for them to stand in the way at least of their graduate school). So between chef as spin-off job, and engineers (being courted from the git-go, as I understand it, by employers), the world seems fine.

  • Haedo1881

    Hi, Tom, If Wal Mart has discriminated against its women employees, it should get sued and sued Big Time. I find it very sad that the Human Resources Dept. should tell the women how to apply for Welfare and food stamps. Isn’t the purpose of getting a job not having to depend on government assistance? And why only $8 an hour? Why can’t they get better wages?Eugenia Renskoff

  • Eric

    The attorney guest who wrote the amicus brief was working for Costco. It’s too bad no-one pointed out that Costco has excellent labor relations. In fact Wall Street analysts often complain that Costco compensation is too generous.

  • Jennifer

    Tom, I can tell you that Walmart does discrimination agains woman. I work for Sam’s Club in Las Vegas as a Bakery Manager , I was move to the Meat dept because it was a favor to get a Bakery Mgr transfer from a FLORIDA Sam,s too Vegas. So am in a department I have no clue about alone with the Produce dept. And top it of $10,000 differ in the two salary,and this was 2005 then I was fired after my second inventory. Walmart has not been fair to the employee since Sam Walton died.
    Lang721@gmail.com

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  • PM

    I already feel bad saying this, but: the woman on the panel was one of the worst panelists I’ve heard.  Given her excellent credentials, I am sure that she is a very capable, accomplished individual.  Yet.  She seemed nervous, ill-prepared, “choppy” and ready to dumb down her speech for radio.  This is NPR:  we can handle coherent, cohesive, in-depth responses; what’s more, we demand them.  This decision is horrible for the plight of the common woman and man.

  • Bill

    Interesting… the 24 hour super wal-mart I work at (Godfrey, Illinois) is managed by a woman, 1 of the 2 Co-Managers Is a woman,  4 of the 6 Assistant Managers are women , We have 3 male department managers out of the entire store… there rest are.. you guessed it…  ALL of my supervisors are female. ALL of HR is female, All of Accounting is  Female, All of the business office is women,  there’s 1 man in the Pharmacy, the rest are Women, All CSM’s are Female, 2 of the 3 receivers are female…. the Claims Department is 2 women.  of the 6 ZMS we have 1 is a man.   The most interesting part of all of this however is the fact that none of the men seem to mind. With women DOMINATING the higher pay positions at my store you’d think there’d be some crazy cave-man roaring and scratching of butts…  yet.. there isn’t. None of the men have expressed any concern of this “TERRIBLE INEQUALITY!!!” In fact, I hadn’t even considered this to be an injustice until I came across this page…where i was shown the error of my ways.. OBVIOUSLY if  people of one gender control  the overwhelming majority of higher pay codes.. there MUST be foul play!!!!  Look boys & girls… bad people come in both sexes… (AND in different colors *gasp*)…simple truth.  If you’ve had a bad experience with management at your store… PLEASE don’t automatically assume it’s because your antagonist has testicles. (or isn’t your same color) They might just be an a**hole instead. 

  • Gary Fitzwater

       I work overnights for store number 1993; & our Shift Manager hired all men and didnt see any new women associates, & I have a few female friends who applied and have way more experience then a lot of these men do. Like they have either some college, going to college or have a college degree or worked retail (jcpenny’s) before. Some of the Men that were hired one was fired from a walmart before, a few dont even have a GED or diploma and some just graduated from highschool.

       Also this Shift Manager keeps putting women in furniture or makes a woman go out in the dark by herself and push cart. She cant use the cart pusher & she is only able to push 5 carts at a time. According to company policy should only push 4 carts at the time. Management always tells her she takes to long. I offered to help her and I had most of my work done but tells me, “no go zone an isle”. 

      Another thing a woman had to bin these 55′, 60′ & 65′ tvs which were double stacked on a pallet. She called code Hercules multiple times I dont have a walkie but wish I did. So she went to this Shift Manager (& I saw this cause this Shift Manager was just outside my isle) hopefully he could send someone or he could help her. He eventually sent this older gentlemen to help who seemed useless.  I try telling her she shouldnt of even bother doing it, but she did & I saw her walking out rubbing her lower back.

       The thing that disapoints me is this Shift manager says he used to be an ambulance driver & you would think he’s known better that women dont have the muscle that men do. And if it’s true that women arent paid the same and its probably because they can’t do heavy lifting. Then why make them do heavy lifting when there are plenty of other jobs they can do. Like folding clothes; They have 2 men working apparel but they refuse to fold the clothes and if they do they do a horrible job. Or why is there a guy working HBA ad costmetics, a job im sure the women would like to do and would be experts at it. Instead of doing the heavy lifting in furniture, cart pushing and tvs. I understand having a woman do the small furnitures stuff, or do everything else in electronics but the tvs or have someone else join/help the woman whose been cart pushing by herself in the dark. That woman has a real high percent chance to be raped! 

      I am a male associate posting this and yes these women Ive mentioned are very upset that they have to lift these heavy merchandise and I dont want to see anyone get hurt. I dont want anything to happen to this store or this co manager. Perhaps the       

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3ZYWGTWIGCFX6PJNASFQXE5O7I John

    The fact of the matter is most women at Wal-mart don’t do thsi! All they do is complain about how everything is too heavy for them or that they cannot move a pallet, or that they didn’t work something because something else was in the way, so the department suffers. Wal-mart could make so much more money (that means bigger bonus) if they did a better job at the hiring process. I witnessed first hand through  interviews I sat in  on, that applicants that should never be hired based on their responses to situations and answers to  work experiences, slip through the cracks.

    Most of them have attitudes and they always have something smart to say to their supervisor and it seems that managers tuck their tails in between their legs when they start to get loud   and yell, instead of terminating them.

    You need men in your department to really get anything done and be able to leave someone alone and say “Break down this pallet and  condense this one,” instead of coming back every five minutes  to help them remove something from a pallet. Discriminate?? They don’t do ANYTHING!

    It’s not about experience, it’s about getting the job done safely and efficiently.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

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