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Summary of Ethical and Business Issues

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  1. Wal-mart is facing a class action lawsuit, which is weakening its good public image
  2. What financial impact do you think the lawsuit could potentially have on Wal-Mart?
  3. What are the major moral complaints of the women suing Wal-Mart? Do you believe these moral complaints are justified? Why?
  4. What factors do you think might account for the discrepancies the Drogin report uncovered?
  5. What, if anything, do you think Wal-Mart should do to correct these discrepancies?
  6. Do you think the women deserve to win their lawsuit? Why or why not?
  7. Conclusion - what course of action should have been taken and why

Wal-mart, the world's biggest retailer owning 48,000 stores worldwide, is famous for its low-price products and strong, distinctive corporate culture. All employees are made sure to know Sam Walton's personal values, beliefs and culture. These values are passed on from managers to their subordinates. However, these cultural traditions of the company are said to be male-oriented. This gender-biased is prevalent in the entire company and also the main reason for the complaints filed against it.Wal-mart is facing a class action lawsuit, which is weakening its good public image. The female employees claimed to be discriminated in promotions, pay, management training, and job assignments. In June 2001, the lawsuit was filed by six employees who accused Wal-mart paying and promoting men more than women. In June 2004, the US District Court Judge Martin Jenkins ruled that these women can sue Wal-mart in behalf of other female employees who were allegedly discriminated by the company.

[...] Conclusion what course of action should have been taken and why Instead of diffusing the negative publicities by spending heavily in public relations campaigns through the PR website, TV and newspaper adverts, and charity works, among others, Wal-mart should focus on resolving the issues by addressing the root cause of the problem. Wal- mart should therefore reform its business practices to address its growing problem on gender discrimination and other issues. If only Wal-mart can rightfully enforce its Code of Conduct, it can never go wrong. [...]

[...] Just because women are more likely to attend to the needs of their families, it doesn't mean they are less competent for promotions and should receive less salary, among others. With regards to ?affirmative actions?, Wal-mart already made considerable changes in their public relations soon after the lawsuit was filed. As mentioned earlier, it launched its public relations website, several employee and consumer-related campaigns, TV and newspaper advertisements, and charity works. Some of these campaigns cater only to women. However, in the recent CNN report, Wal-Mart's PR bloopers, which was published in 2007, CNN summarized Wal-mart's major campaigns launched to clean up its image. [...]

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