For the past few decades Wal-Mart has been criticized and accused for being involved with all sorts of unethical behavior. Many various groups of people have come after Wal-Mart protesting against their company’s policies and business practices. Labor, community, environmental, and religious groups are some of the most known types of groups that have tried to personally attack Wal-Mart for their lack of social responsibility. Just some of the many areas that have raised concern by people would be the corporation’s foreign product sourcing, environmental practices, the use of public subsidies, and the treatment of employees and product suppliers. Wal-Mart continues to deny any allegations of wrongdoings and unethical behavior (Fishman).
Many stories have surfaced that would label Wal-Mart as being an unethical company. Some stories are big, some are small, and some are probably completely made up. However, there is a lot of evidence that shows how unethical Wal-Mart has been in many different types of circumstances. Prior to 2007 it was estimated that 87,000 Wal-Mart employees were cheated out of $34 million because the Wal-Mart executives failed to pay workers overtime. Some even admitted that they were trained by their superiors to not pay anyone overtime. This is a very immoral act because the workers are not getting paid what they deserve and this makes it harder for them to pay for their living expenses (Fishman).
Wal-Mart has had over 100 lawsuits concerning wage and hour violations. They have been charged with not giving workers federally mandated breaks and lunches. They have also required workers to take their missed breaks or overtime before the Friday’s end of the pay period, which is an illegal act. Wal-Mart has been accused for not paying full-time benefits for workers who work 40 hours or more per week. In 2005 in the state of California, Wal-Mart was forced to pay $172 million in damages. There has been several cases of where Wal-Mart has had to pay many millions of dollars for employee damages. The ethical issue in this case would be fairness. All employees should be granted what they deserve and what they were promised (Greenhouse).
Wal-Mart does not pay many of their employees enough money to support their family or even have health care. They pay 26-37% less than the national average for the same jobs in the retail industry. Wal-Mart pays poverty level wages and this is very unethical because they make such huge profits that can allow them to pay decent living wages. Wal-Mart profits more by using State Governments to fund health care for its employees which is not fair to their competitors or the society (Olsson).
Wal-Mart has the worst health packages when compared with their competitors. For example they cover only about 50% of their employees while the national average for major retailers is around 64%. Wal-Mart employees have to wait for 6 months to get health insurance compared to the national average of 3 months. They even charge extra for emergency room visits and ambulance usage. Also, employees with pre-existing conditions have to wait at least one year to receive any treatment. Instead of trying to give their employees the bare minimum, Wal-Mart should readjust their prices and salaries so that enough money would go towards things like basic health care (Fishman).
Thorough studies have been done as well as many court cases that prove that Wal-Mart discriminates against women by not paying them as much as their male counterparts. It is also much rarer for women to be promoted to upper management than it is a male. A 2003 study was done that showed that women received 37 cents an hour less than the men that held the same position. Female managers earn about $5,000 less than male managers. Even though 72% of Wal-Mart’s workforce consists of women they still only make up 33% of all managers. Jon Lehman who is a...
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