Wal-Mart to Pay $87,500 to Settle EEOC Suit for Unlawful Retaliation
Federal Agency Charged Two Adult Children Were Unlawfully Rejected for Jobs Because of Mother's Prior Sex Discrimination Complaint
Wal-Mart Associates, Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc., L.P., doing business as Walmart stores in Albuquerque, will pay $87,500 and furnish other relief to settle a lawsuit for retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency recently announced.
The EEOC's lawsuit charged that Walmart Store #835 on Eubank in Northeast Albuquerque refused to hire Ramona Bradford's adult son and daughter for entry-level positions because Ms. Bradford had filed a sex discrimination charge against Wal-Mart with the EEOC.
Retaliation against an employee because of her opposition to discrimination and/or participation in protected activity, such as filing a discrimination charge, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC also alleged that Ramona Bradford was a victim of retaliation because her two adult children were being denied employment because of her complaints about discrimination and her charge filing.
The EEOC filed suit in March 2007, EEOC v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc., 07-cv-00300 JAP/WPL, in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief for the Bradfords, the consent decree settling the suit provides for other important relief, including an injunction prohibiting retaliatory practices; training for managerial employees on retaliation; and the posting of a notice advising employees of their rights under Title VII.
"This case involved an interesting and instructive fact pattern -- retaliation against family members because their mother had filed a discrimination charge," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "The United States Supreme Court in Thompson v. North American Stainless held that employers cannot take adverse actions against employees or their relatives or others close to them because the applicant or employee did the right thing and complained of unlawful conduct in the workplace."
EEOC Albuquerque Area Director Derick Newton said, "Retaliation continues to be a high priority for the EEOC - it always was, and under our national Strategic Enforcement Plan, preserving access to the legal system is especially emphasized. We now receive more retaliation charges than any other kind of discrimination charges -- over 42 percent of our charges contain retaliation allegations. We are pleased that this case could be resolved for the Bradfords and mandates that Wal-Mart train its managers about retaliation."
Eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes, or that impede the EEOC's investigative or enforcement efforts, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov. The Phoenix District Office of the EEOC has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah.