Women filing discrimination lawsuits against Walmart are nothing new. Walmart firing people forÂ questionableÂ andÂ controversialÂ reasons is also nothing new. Now a woman is suing the low-wage retail giant, saying she wasÂ fired after complaining about discriminatory treatment. Specifically, Rebecca Wolfinger says her boss told her she had to â€śchoose between her career and her kids.â€ť
Wolfinger’s suit focuses on what she claims was her mistreatment while working as a shift manager. She was being required to work seven days a week when she received the “career or kids” threat, she contends.
Other male shift managers weren’t on a seven-day work schedule, Wolfinger claims. Her February 2012 firing occurred after she reported her boss’ comment to a company human resource officer, the suit states.
Wolfinger was officially fired, she says, for selling Pampered Chef outside of workâ€”but coworkers who engaged in similar activities werenâ€™t fired. And of course a sophisticated company like Walmart doesnâ€™tÂ admitÂ to having fired someone for complaining about illegal discrimination.
Several years ago, 1.5 million women who worked or had worked at Walmart attempted a class action lawsuit against the company, only to have the Supreme CourtÂ say that â€ś[e]ven if every single one of these accounts is true, that would not demonstrate that the entire company operate[s] under a general policy of discrimination.â€ť Thatâ€™s despite evidence like this:
Many female Walmart employees have been paid less than male coworkers. In 2001, female workers earned $5,200 less per year on average than male workers. The company paid those who had hourly jobs, where the average yearly earnings were $18,000, $1.16 less per hour ($1,100 less per year) than men in the same position. Female employees who held salaried positions with average yearly earnings of $50,000 were paid $14,500 less per year than men in the same position. Despite this gap in wages, female Walmart employees on average have longer tenure and higher performance ratings.
Doubtless all just a coincidence, though. Just like Rebecca Wolfinger was coincidentally fired for something that other workers did after she reported being discriminated against.
This blog originally appeared inÂ dailykos.com/blog/laborÂ on January 13, 2016. Reprinted with permission.
Laura Clawson is the Daily Kos contributing editor and has been since December 2006. Â She has also been the labor editor since 2011.