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Wal-Mart Settles EEOC Sex Discrimination Lawsuit for $11.7M

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 02, 2010 1:36 PM

Is it gender discrimination if you hire mostly male workers to work in a warehouse? 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission seems to think so. According to the EEOC, excluding women from certain positions is a violation of Title CVII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, was being accused of violating equal opportunity rights at its London, Kentucky warehouse, a sex-discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC lawsuit alleged. 

According to a press release from the EEOC: "Walmart Stores will  pay $11.7 million in back wages and com­pen­satory damages, its share of  employer taxes, and up to $250,000 in administration fees and will furnish  other relief, including jobs, to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by  the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)."

The Wal-Mart discrimination suit alleged that during the time period from 1998 to 2005, the retailer systematically excluded women who were at times equally or better qualified than their male counterparts. In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that the retailer regularly applied stereotypes when hiring for their entry-level order-filling positions, telling female candidates that the positions were not suitable for women. Instead, the retailer regularly hired 18 to 25 year old men to fill the position. 

The decree settling the suit was entered on March 1 and by decree, Wal-Mart must provide order-filler jobs to eligible women, as the jobs become available, in a systematic way.  Furthermore, the decree places an impetus on Wal-Mart not to retaliate against any employee or applicant who complains of discrimination. Wal-Mart will also train its employees and managers at the Kentucky facility, as well as submit reports to the EEOC showing its compliance with the court orders. 

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