Wal-Mart has agreed to hire Jeremy Fass and William Darnell. But it took several years and a lawsuit by the federal government to get Wal-Mart to hire them. Fass and Darnell filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when they were both rejected for jobs on the night shift at a Wal-Mart in Tucson. Both men claimed that they were not hired because they are deaf. The EEOC was joined by the Arizona Disability Law Center in a federal lawsuit in the spring of 1997. Two and a half years later, Wal-Mart now admits they wronged these two men. “We realize that IN THIS INSTANCE, we did something wrong at the local level,” a spokesman for the company told the Associated Press. The settlement Wal-Mart agreed to requires the company to offer Fass and Darnell jobs, retroactive to September of 1995, so both men are now heading into their fifth year at Wal-Mart. Each plaintiff will also get $66,250, and other fringe benefits that they would have received if they had been hired in 1995. Wal-Mart also agreed to make changes in its training programs to accomodate deaf employees. Fass and Darnell may be deaf, but they made themselves heard.
My question is: Why would Fass and Darnell want to work at a company that refused to hire them in the first place, but then put them through several years of court battles before admitting “we did something wrong”? It took Wal-Mart years to ‘hear’ what these job applicants were saying about the company’s policies. And note the comment of the Wal-Mart spokesman who says, in effect, we screwed up IN THIS INSTANCE, and its was not us guys at headquarters in Bentonville, it was “at the local level”. Do they think the public cares who screwed up: local or headquarters. As Wal-Mart likes to say: Good works. Just sometimes it takes years to get Wal-Mart to “do good” by the people they have injured. See the next story for another case of discrimination at the world’s largest retailer.