| Wal-Mart’s Diversity| Course Research Paper| | Alicia B. Clennan| 647 Pilgrim Dr. San Antonio, [email protected] com210-912-4537GM 591: Leadership and Organizational BehaviorProfessor Marco Faggione| 12/12/2010 | Wal-Mart’s Diversity Introduction The organizational that will be the topic of discussion in my final project paper is Wal-Mart Corporate. Wal-Mart was founded in 1962, with the opening of the first Wal-Mart discount store in Rogers, Ark. The company incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc on Oct 31, 1969. The company grew to 276 stores in all states by the end of the decade.
In 1983, the company opened its first Sam’s Club membership warehouse and in 1988 opened the first supercenter. Wal-Mart became international company in 1991 when it opened its first Sam’s club. Wal-Mart serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,692 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $ 405 billion, Wal-Mart employs 2. 1 million associates worldwide. I am a sales associate at Wal-Mart in the jewelry department. I was hired in June of 2010 and I was not familiar with the corporation yet.
However, I recognize how well the organization performs. Wal-Mart believes that business wins, when everyone matters and the true strength of diversity is unleashed, when each associate is encouraged to reach their full potential. As for as with Wal-Mart’s Diversity, personally I am not so familiar and only experience in a not so much with their purpose due to being employed in a span of four months. Research shows other issues with Wal-Mart’s ethical diversity. Wal-Mart is always under the microscope when it comes to discrimination.
Evidence shows that there are complaints about favoritism, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination. These unethical issues are a problem in today’s occupation society. Problem Statement Wal-Mart has been a target of criticism for its employment practices and its effect on the larger economy and community. There are several incidents mentioned on the web and in court cases. At my Wal-Mart, I have noticed favoritism. Favoritism between managers and employees is a big problem in Wal-Mart. One way of thinking of favoritism is getting called to do the more responsibility type of work.
This is like trying to be friends with the boss to get higher in the employment ladder. The managers seemed to have certain picks between subordinates about who gets the special attention. Like I said, I have noticed this act at my Wal-Mart. Most of the night shift girls are friends with one of the night managers at my Wal-Mart. I noticed them going out of their way to please this supervisor. There is an organization called Wal-Mart Watch which began a nationwide public education campaign to challenge the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, to become a better employer, neighbor, and corporate citizen.
This organization lets employees (former and present) leave blogs on “Wal-Mart Speaks Out” discussing issues they see in their Wal-Mart. One individual with the initial RR wrote writes: I was passed over at least five times for promotions because the only people that were getting promotions were the drinking buddies of a manager. She has since been fired; I was a union steward for 20 years in California and have never seen such disregard for labor laws. In this town, in retail if you are injured at work you are fired; this doesn’t only happen at Wal-Mart in [Colorado], it happens at all the grocery stores.
I am outraged that they aren’t being forced to treat their employee’s better. With this information, it is unaccepted in the workforce. This can be considered unprofessional relationship in the workforce. It is almost as serious as a manager or a supervisor is having an affair with one of their workers. Favoritism also leads to other problems. These other problems have been reported of happening. Sexual harassment and discrimination for males vs. females have been reported about Wal-Mart. Several cases have been seen through the court systems.
One example that will be mentioned later on in the report is of a sexual harassment case that took place in Crosby, TX. Another example that I will mention about in the discrimination of female workers, is about a gender discrimination lawsuit that was the largest in U. S. history. It happened to be about women not getting promoted and pay equally to men. Sexual harassment in the workforce is unacceptable. Wal-Mart has its share of complaints. In Crosby, TX, a former Wal-Mart employee had sued Wal-Mart for sexual harassment from her supervisor.
Theil (2008) reported that a former employee named Jenna Aryain of Wal-Mart was sexually harassed by her supervisor. The incident happened on February 25, 2005 as a cashier. Aryain said that for four months her supervisor, Darrel Hays allegedly subjected her to appalling remarks every day. Her supervisor committed her about her looks and made sexual advances to her. Ms. Aryain allegedly complained to another supervisor and no action was taken by Wal-Mart. On June, 20, 2005, her supervisor allegedly yelled at her during work. She left work early that day and told her parents what had happened.
Her father called the store manager, Gwendolyn Furr and Chelly Whiddon, an assistant manager, to arrange a meeting to discuss what was going on. Supervisors are much as guilty as the employee. Most supervisors have favorite employees that they count on with certain tasks. When an energetic employee is in your organization, most supervisors call upon them to do the task because they know that it will get done. Your other employees may have the same qualities as the energetic person so they felt left out. (Bielous, 1997) Literature Review
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Manual for Managers and Supervisors by Gibson (1998) guides the upper management on the importance of a sexually harassed free work environment. It lets managers know that the best defense for the sexually harassment subject is an offensive approach. There are actions that companies must take in order to eliminate sexual harassment. By creating a zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct by company managers and supervisors. Why is it important that managers and supervisors learn this subject?
There is an automatic liability on the company if a manager or a supervisor is accused of sexual harassment or doesn’t stop it from happening. There is a law that makes it clear that prevention and elimination of sexual harassment is a must in the workplace. Gibson (1998) also writes that if a victim started the conversation of sex talk that they can claim sexual harassment at any time. A hostile work environment can be considered abusive if the behavior becomes severe or pervasive. Flirting or vulgar language is merely annoying and may not be hostile enough to take legal action, but it usually considered prohibited by company policy.
Also a romantic relationship between management and subordinates is not against the law. If one does exist it cannot get out of hand. Getting out of hand may be determined as favoritism in the workforce. The relationship must be consensual between both parties in order to prevent harassment. A hostile environment in the workplace can consist of sexual play while on the clock. In the handbook that Gibson (1998) wrote, he mentions steps a company can take in preventing sexual harassment. First off, a company needs to have a strict written policy prohibiting sexual harassment.
The policy should also define, provide examples, outline a procedure for reporting with several avenues to bypass his or her supervisor, mention assurance that all cases will be taken seriously, guarantee all cases have adverse consequences like discharge to the harasser, and all supervisory personnel to immediately report and sexual harassment. Along with a written policy, the company must train each employee on sexual harassment to avoid any pitfalls. The company needs establish an effective procedure for handling sexual harassment complaints.
One good idea mentioned is to designate two individuals, one male and one female, in handling the complaints. Some individual feel more comfortable talking to someone of the same sex. Monitoring your management staff for anti-harassment behavior is a good idea or even including EEO preventive practices in daily routines. The organization should quickly investigate all claims and observed conduct. Feel free to give the victim time off to gather their thoughts to prevent them from quitting or suing the company. Separating the victim from the harasser may sound like a good idea, but be careful in where you put the victim.
If the victim doesn’t like the area because of disadvantages of moving, it could be considered retaliation. The organizations should take all complaints seriously, even though it did happen five years ago. The employee can’t sue because of the time length; still the organization can make sure that the incident still needs to be controlled. The organization needs to have all sexually harassment cases documented for legal reasons. Valid documents may consist of statement from witnesses, complainant, and the alleged harasser. Other documents may include what the employer did to resolve the conflict.
The company should make sure all confidentiality be taken to prevent further liability. Upper management should make sure that no retaliation takes place. In chapter eight, Gibson (1998) mentions an effective way to handle the complaint of sexual harassment. The organization needs to take the complaint seriously. Don’t be judgmental about the case even if the complaint comes from a chronic complainer. The company can be liable on how they handle the sexual harassment complaint. Try to put the victim at ease and assure with confidentiality.
Assure the victim that non-retaliation is intolerable and should be reported. Handle all cases with action even though the victim asks that no action should take place to the harasser. The company can still be held reliable. Conducting an in-depth sexual harassment investigation can be difficult Gibson (1998) mentions. An immediate investigation by a neutral person should be handled as quickly as possible. This person is usually a member of the HRO or EEO. Other managers or supervisors should know what is going on in case they are asked to assist.
Keep an investigation under general guidelines such as treating all cases separate, keep them valid until proven frivolous, protect the victim from further harm, document complete and accurate, keep all fact a “need to know” basis, limit the number of people who have access to the information, tell all parties to keep the case confidential, and never broadcast the facts as a training tool. If the case of the harassment to be found true, take prompt corrective action. Consider case by case on the severity of punishment to the harasser. If the victim doesn’t get discharge, warn them that next time a discharge will occur.
Inform all results to effective parties in order to protect privacy. Make sure you follow up on all cases to make sure no one has been retaliated. Sometimes the investigator may come to some special circumstance when trying to resolve situations. If the accused wants a lawyer, assure them that there is no need for one and they are not required to have one. Also if there was no witness to the alleged claim, the investigator must take the credibility of the parties when determining the outcome. If the claim can’t be determined if it happened or not, then education to both parties must take place about sexual harassment.
Further assure the victim that his or her employment conditions won’t be retaliated. Make sure the complaint is filed for legal reasons. If the claim turns out to be false, determine if the person deliberately lied or simply misread the conduct. Disciplining someone who misinterpreted the action may think they were retaliated, and the company could be held responsible. The law for gender discrimination makes it clear on what is expected in the workforce. Corporations are abided to follow laws and regulations in the United States. US Code – Section 2000E-2: Unlawful employment practices (a) Employer practices
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer – (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion,sex, or national origin; or (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Analysis Ethical concept in the workforce keeps the organization is regarded as good character and conduct. We need to make ethical decisions based on focuses of moral dilemmas. Moral problems is that of an ethical consequences of a decision that was made. Ethical leadership is a responsibility that managers and supervisors must abide by. These responsibilities may include caring, honesty, principled, fairness, and balanced choices. Favoritism, does not match under those qualities. Favoritism is the soul issue that Wal-Mart faces today. I have seen favoritism in my workplace. Also favoritism is being viewed at all Wal-Marts around the world.
With the other issues that Wal-Mart faces, sexual harassment and gender discrimination, favoritism is usually the root of the problems. Favoritism is more likely to be inevitable in any organization. Organizations should try to reduce them as much as possible. Emotional conflict is difficulties within oneself that arises because of anger, mistrust, dislike, fear, and resentment. Emotional conflict can the energy out of a person and can be distracting. You may see this emotional distress in teams, among co-workers, and in superior-subordinate relationship. There are certain levels of the conflict.
One level of conflict you may have is interpersonal conflict. This is a conflict between two or more people. Sexual harassment may become an interpersonal conflict. When your supervisor makes sexual remarks or advances to an employee, conflict arises. When sexual harassment occurs it puts emotional stress on the victim. The victim feels anger toward the incident. Sexual harassment is intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. That person will start feeling resentment in that did she do something wrong to cause the harassment.
Effects of sexual harassment can vary depending on the individual, and the severity and duration of the harassment. Often, sexual harassment incidents fall into the category of the “merely annoying. ” However, many situations can, and do, have life-altering effects particularly when they involve severe/chronic abuses, and/or retaliation against a victim who does not submit to the harassment, or who complains about it openly. Indeed, psychologists and social workers report that severe/chronic sexual harassment can have the same psychological effects as rape or sexual assault.
Stereotyping is a commonly held popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of “stereotype” and “prejudice” are often confused with many other different meanings. Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions. Gender diversity is the proportion of males to females in the workplace. Corporations may have more of an even distribution or the employee pool is composed of mostly males or mostly females. This can have an effect on how people interact and behave with one another in the workplace and would impact culture and social environment.
Similarly other demographics such as population, racial characteristics and such all contribute to the work environment. Though gender discrimination and sexism refers to beliefs and attitudes in relation to the gender of a person, such beliefs and attitudes are of a social nature and do not, normally, carry any legal consequences. Sex discrimination, on the other hand, may have legal consequences. Though what constitutes sex discrimination varies between countries, the essence is that it is an adverse action taken by one person against another person that would not have occurred had the person been of another sex.
Discrimination of that nature in certain enumerated circumstances is illegal in many countries. Currently, discrimination based on sex is defined as adverse action against another person that would not have occurred had the person been of another sex. This is considered a form of prejudice and is illegal in the United States. Wal-Mart’s reports on gender discrimination of women in their corporation are illegal and should be taken care of. Like every class-action ruling, the certification should not be construed in any manner as a ruling on the merits or the probable outcome of these cases.
When these cases arose back in 2001, women were getting 79 cents to every dollar a man made. (Friedman, 2010) Solutions There are solutions that could be used in order to correct the problem Wal-Mart faces. Training, discipline, and monitoring of all employees of Wal-Mart are the best steps in the right direction. If done right, Wal-Mart can start becoming a more successful corporation that others can follow. The corporation needs to take steps in training everyone in the organization on the right and wrong things to do when it comes to diversity.
Having quarterly training will give each employee an implant of the things that are wrong. Being an ethical corporation involves everyone. First, start with training your supervisors about the right and wrongfulness of favoritism in the workforce. Tell them that even the little things may be perceived as playing favoritism. Cautioned them about the negative reactions of an extra relationship between supervisor and a subordinate can lead in the wrong direction. Also keep reminding your employees the zero tolerance policy about sexual harassment.
Assure people that there will be consequences if supervisors abuse their power. Wal-Mart needs to let their employees that there will be no retaliation if reports are being filed. Let your employees know that gender discrimination is all in the past. Your employees would like to know if they are being paid the same amount. Let you employees know what the pay scale is in your organization. Train your employees on the right and wrong of gender discrimination. Training has its pros and cons. The good thing about training the material is that it gets the information out there to the right people.
A people need to here that there are rules and regulations that corporation has to abide by. The bad thing about training is that it can take up a lot of time while people are training. Discipline is another possible solution. Strict guidelines and closure of all cases will ensure everyone is treated equally. Make sure that if someone is sexually harassed that the supervisor or anyone in the organization will be punished. Make sure the punishment is fair and justified. Treat each case upon severity of the case. Like training, discipline also has its pros and cons.
Discipline will let everyone in Wal-Mart know that the company is not playing around when it comes with sexual harassment. One thing bad about discipline is that one person may view the severity differently than another person in your organization. Then punishment may be differently and the victim may think that the harasser got off scot free. Frequent monitoring of all your employees is another way we can solve the problem at Wal-Mart. Managers should more frequently review those security cameras. Make rounds to your entire departments and ask questions about how everything is doing.
Make sure you not just talk to the supervisors; also talk with all of your staff, even the janitor. The good thing about monitoring is that you can interact to your staff and it lets them know you care about them. Sam Walton would love this idea. The bad thing is that the manager will lose valuable time in his office handling paperwork. Reflection Viewing Wal-Mart after writing this report has a much more meaning to me when I go to work. I can start using my ideas to make a difference in the work place. I can spread my knowledge to my fellow workmates.
I can let them know how important it is too seek help if there are any problems. Works Cited Alvarez, F. , & Moser, A. (2010). Targeting Employers for Gender-Based Pay and promotion Discrimination: The Next Big Thing?. Employee Relations Law Journal, 36930, 46-53. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database. Bielous, G. (1997). Do you play favorites?. Supervision, 58(8), 9. Retrieved form MasterFILE Premier database. Friedman, E. (2010, April). Appeals Court Rules Wal-Mart Sex Discrimination Case Can Go to Trial. Retrieved from http://abcnews. go. om/WN/Business/wal-mart-sex-discrimination-case-trial/story? id=10480510 Gibson, P. , (1998). Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Manual for Managers ans Supervisors: How to Prevent and Resolve Sexual Harrassment complaints in the Workplace. Employment & Human Resources management Professional Series. Chicago CCH Incorpated. Ozbilgin, M. & Pringle, J. (2009). Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work: a Research Companion. Cheltenham,UK, Northampton, MA Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. Thiel, J. (2008). Harassment Claim Advances. HRMagazine, 53(10),99. Retrieved from Business Source complete database.