Today will be abuzz with debates about the debate and what the next debate will look like and what debates really mean and of course, who won the debate. I’m not going to do that. I want to draw attention to my favorite embodiment of corporate greed, Wal-Mart.
My pet foe has been in the news a great deal lately, strikes, law suits, charges of discrimination of all types. Now a woman in Canada has won a whopping 1.49 million in damages. In fact it’s more than she asked for in her lawsuit based on charges of abuse. Being called a bunch of names by your boss like “Gong show and stupid” is pretty abusive. Face it any woman worth her salt taking this sort of verbal attack from a husband on a regular basis would hit the divorce courts. So, why not follow the old adage, “Don’t get mad; get even”. $1.49 mil is a lot of even.
Of course Wal-Mart intends to appeal. Why shouldn’t they? They can keep this going until this woman is gone to the great beyond as are most of her descendants. Wal-Mart just got off the hook in the largest class action suit ever filed. The Supreme Court came down on the side of the giant by preventing the 1.5 million women to sue in a class action stating discrimination against women. Mind you the court didn’t say the women were not discriminated against just that there was no proof of the bad behavior being Wal-Mart policy. I thought for sure the Court would find the following statement in the employee manual. “Please make sure you treat women under your supervision as sub-standard human beings at all times and in as many ways as possible”. Sort of sounds like the Republican stand on health care for women in particular. I digress.
William T. Bielby, a sociologist specializing in social framework analysis, told a lower court that he had collected general “scientific evidence about gender bias, stereotypes and the structure and dynamics of gender inequality in organizations.” He concluded that Wal-Mart’s culture might foster pay and disparities through a centralized personnel policy that allowed for subjective decisions by local managers. Such practices, he argued, allowed stereotypes to sway personnel choices, making “decisions about compensation and promotion vulnerable to gender bias.” Justices Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented in part. I quote Justice Bader Ginsburg, “gender bias suffused Wal-Mart’s corporate culture.” “for instance, that women filled 70 percent of the hourly jobs but only 33 percent of management positions and that “senior management often refer to female associates as ‘little Janie Qs.’ ” WOW
So, does this decision give way to 1.5 billion lawsuits being filed by 1.5 billion lawyers on behalf of 1.5 billion individual women? That would surely bring the country to a halt. Do we even have 1.5 billion lawyers?
Anyway, Wal-Mart is not out of the woods yet. The giant is being sued on all sorts of fronts; by a Mormon employee on the grounds of religious discrimination and by five women in California on the basis of sexual discrimination. According to Bloomberg about 12 percent of the 3,044 federal court lawsuits since 2009 against Wal-Mart involved issues with employment. These of course are just small pebbles being thrown as are the strikes and protests by workers and the concerted efforts of individuals like me and church groups and other organizations not to EVER shop at Wal-Mart.
I leave you with this thought. Remember David and his little rock. Clean up your act Wal-Mart you might be a falling giant someday. J