Right in the middle of Wal-Mart’s largest public relations campain, the retailer can’t seem to dodge lawsuits from the federal government. First it was child labor laws (letting teenagers handle dangerous equipment) and now, in Bradenton, Florida, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has sued Wal-Mart for not restraining one of its Assistant Managers from keeping his hands off a female employee. The lawsuit says that not only did a Wal-Mart employee engage in sexual harassment of a worker — but even worse — Wal-Mart failed to do anything about it. The case stems from incidents at the Bradenton supercenter in January of 2002, when a woman began working in the retailer’s stock room. Her Assistant Manager began propositioning her, using vulgar language, and touching her, according to Associated Press reports. The EEOC says they informed Wal-Mart’s store manager about the abuse, but the manager did nothing to stop the harassment, so the EEOC filed a second lawsuit against the company. Wal-Mart would not comment on the federal charges, except to say that company policy prohibits harassment or discrimination of any kind.
What kind of a corporate citizen says they don’t allow sexual harassment, but when it happens, they do nothing about it? The American taxpayer is paying for the staff time necessary to get Wal-Mart to respect federal law regarding sexual harassment. In essence, U.S. taxpayers are underwriting the cost of bringing these cases against Wal-Mart, instead of Wal-Mart, at its expense, getting its workforce trained to behave appropriately. Wal-Mart says it creates job opportunities. In this case, the only opportunity Wal-Mart created was the opportunity for an assistant manager to sexually exploit his workers. To explore Wal-Mart’s revolving door relationship with the EEOC agency, search Newsflash by “EEOC”.