The Supreme Court will now hear Walmart’s appeal to a ruling in a class-action sexual-discrimination suit that began back in 2001, when plaintiffs argued that female employees receive lower wages and fewer opportunities for promotion relative to their male counterparts.
If the superstore’s appeal is unsuccessful, as many as one million female employees could be eligible to receive compensation.
This marks another chapter in Walmart’s long and storied history of screwing people over. As founder Sam Walton once infamously said, “I pay low wages. I can take advantage of that. We’re going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-benefit model of employment.”
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of this “low wage, low-benefit” model over the past decade:
- In 2000, Walmart was ordered to pay $50 million to store employees in Colorado after they had been repeatedly forced to work off the clock.
- In 2003, federal agents raided a number of Walmart superstores that had been suspected of hiring undocumented, illegal immigrants. Federal wiretaps revealed that corporate executives were aware of—and encouraged—the hires.
- In 2004, despite much protest, Walmart constructed a superstore near Mexico’s ancient Pyramid of the Moon, in Teotihuacan. According to the poet Homero Aridjis, this was like “planting the staff of globalization in the heart of ancient Mexico.”
- The New York Times reported in 2004 that Walmart had violated child-labor laws, finding 1,371 instances of children working too late or for too many hours in a day.
- It was revealed in 2005 that only 44 percent of Walmart employees were covered under any form of health insurance; in comparison, 96 percent of Costco’s employees had coverage.
- In 2005, authorities arrested Walmart executive Tom Coughlin after he bribed members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for a list of names of Walmart employees who had signed union cards.
- In 2008, Walmart sued an employee who had been in a car accident and suffered brain damage in an attempt to recover the medical costs associated with the accident—even though the employee had been covered under the company’s insurance plan.
- In early 2010, the store was forced to remove its “Miley Cyrus” line of jewelry from shelves after an AP investigation found large amounts of the toxic metal cadmium in the products.