West Africans Claim Walmart Discriminates

walmartA group of ten West African men have filed discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) against Wal-Marts in Colorado, claiming they were laid-off so their jobs could be given to local residents. These West Africans, who are Muslims, also claim they were not given sufficient time for prayer breaks.

A Wal-Mart spokesman responds that a diverse group of about 90 employees of many different backgrounds was let go last year, and most of the West African men filing the complaints were a part of that group. He also says that during the past year, other West Africans have been hired, and some have been promoted.

Much of the trouble stems from reports of employee meetings held at Wal-Marts in Avon and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, during which new managers are accused of saying they didn't like some of the faces they saw at the meetings, and that there were other people in the vicinity who needed jobs.

Most of the ten men who filed complaints stated that they had indeed been disciplined recently for not meeting employee requirements, but felt that the complaints against them were exaggerated, with the intent of letting them go. They said they had gone several years without any problems, but suddenly, when new management came in, their work was labeled as unsatisfactory. They're seeking back pay and other compensation.

Wal-Mart is already facing the largest class-action discrimination suit in US history, filed on behalf of 1.5 million current and former female employees. In addition, the company recently settled a multi-million dollar discrimination suit filed by African Americans applying for truck driving positions.

But over the past six years, Wal-Mart has been making efforts to accommodate more diverse groups of employees, putting many through diversity training and making efforts to recruit and hire minorities, and to buy from suppliers owned by women and other minorities. Apparently, the West Africans don't believe these increased anti-discrimination efforts extended to them.


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