Walmart Settles Military Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

The giant retailer was recently accused of discriminating against a Naval reservist by refusing to hire her over her mandatory two-week military commitment. Walmart has agreed to revise its discrimination policy and provide payback for the U.S. Navy Petty Officer Third Class, Lindsey Hunger.

The Department of Justice had announced the resolution of the lawsuit this week, and Walmart said they will revise its employment as well as internal hiring policies. The policies were reworded to state that Walmart forbids discrimination against individuals based on their military background, such as mandatory military service or membership. Walmart has also agreed to train its managers, supervisors, and administrative staff on the requirements of USERRA as well as the rights and obligations of service members under this statute.

Currently, Walmart is one of the largest employers nationwide, so this is good news for devoted service members who will benefit from the settlement. They should be able to earn a living notwithstanding their military commitment. This case will definitely make a lasting impact. The lawsuit had started when a complaint was filed by Ms. Hunger at the Department of Labor. After the matter was investigated, it was referred to the Department of Justice.

The reservist was initially denied a part-time position when she revealed that she will take two weeks off in the summer, which are mandatory for her reserves training.  Walmart refused to hire her at one of its stores in Grand Junction, Colo when she conveyed her need to take time off for Navy Duty. Back in 2016, Hunger had applied for a job and mentioned she needed two weeks off to complete her mandatory military training. Personnel coordinator Kathleen Kelsey replied that summer is a busy time and the store needed Hunger to be there. Walmart never called back Hunger and she wasn’t hired either.

Walmart violated the 1994 Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act. The settlement requires them to revise their hiring policies in order to prevent any future military discrimination. Walmart claims that they respect and hire more military members and veterans than any other company and that this was an unfortunate situation. They have updated their policy and expressed their apologies to Ms. Hunger.

Sources
  • https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-settlement-walmart-over-discrimination-claim-naval-reservist

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