The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says Walmart may have discriminated against 178 female employees by denying promotions and paying them less than male workers, according to documents seen by Reuters and first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The EEOC says it found “reasonable cause” pointing to gender discrimination and urged the employees and Walmart to resolve the matter, which could include a “just” financial settlement and changes to the company’s employment practices.
Walmart “willing to engage” in the resolution process
Although Walmart told the EEOC it would cooperate in resolving the matter, the company says the agency’s findings are “vague and non-specific,” according to a spokesperson. The company is the largest private employer in the U.S. with 1.5 million workers.
An attorney for the female employees says at least 1,600 similar complaints against Walmart are pending with the EEOC over pay and promotion issues from 1999 to 2011. Also, nearly 150 lawsuits against the retailer across the country are yet to be resolved.
Complaints involve women from multiple states
The EEOC memo shows women from 30 different states made complaints. The plaintiffs’ attorney says that suggests the discrimination results from the company’s policies rather than the actions of local managers. The EEOC did not comment on the published reports, but the agency could file a lawsuit against the company or encourage the workers to pursue the matter themselves.
U.S. law prohibits discrimination based on gender
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination in the workplace due to a person’s gender identity, including transgender status or sexual orientation. If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your gender, an employment law attorney here in Tennessee can help you file a complaint with the EEOC and pursue damages, including back pay, overtime and promotions as well as compensation for other financial and psychological impacts caused by your employer’s actions.