Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-09-03

Wal-Mart Adds Sexual Orientation to Nondiscrimination Policy

In contrast to its history of sex discrimination, Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's largest private employer, last week expanded its anti-discrimination policies to protect the rights of gay and lesbian workers. Among the 10 largest Fortune 500 companies, Wal-Mart is the ninth to adopt a policy-to be covered in the retailer's diversity-awareness training programs for all employees-that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the Associated Press. Changes in the language and content of the employee handbook to promote equal treatment of and respect for workers of all sexual orientations are effective immediately, according to Reuters.

Mona Williams, Wal-Mart's vice president for communications, told the New York Times, the decision-made public by the Pride Foundation, a Seattle-based gay rights organization that had lobbied Wal-Mart for gay workers' protection for two years-was made after a letter from gay employees to senior management officials demanded the company change its policy.

Many gay rights groups hail Wal-Mart's move as a step forward in the gay rights movement, which has picked up momentum after the Supreme Court struck down Texas anti-sodomy laws two weeks ago, according to the Associated Press. Pride Foundation board representative Zack Wright told the Associated Press that the decision is especially significant because of Wal-Mart's size and presence in rural areas. Gay rights advocates expect that other corporations and possibly state governments will soon follow suit, according to the Times.

Steven Sprenger, a partner with a Washington D.C. law firm that specializes in sexual discrimination, told Reuters that while the policy is a good start, enforcement is critical. Wal-Mart, the most sued-company in the United States, according to the National Organization for Women, continues to face many gender discrimination lawsuits, despite the presence of a policy that prohibits gender discrimination. The pending California case Dukes v. Wal-Mart, set for class certification on July 25, alleges systematic sex discrimination in unequal pay, promotion, and training. If granted class-action status, this case against Wal-Mart could be the largest discrimination suit in history, according to Fortune.

DONATE Join the Feminist Majority!

Media Resources: Associated Press 7/3/2003; Fortune 7/7/2003; Reuters 7/2/2003; New York Times 7/3/2003; NOW 11/18/2002


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/1/2014 Afghanistan and US Finalize Bilateral Security Agreement - In a nationally televised ceremony at the Presidential Palace just one day after President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai took office, Afghanistan signed a major security agreement with the United States. . . .
 
9/30/2014 US Supreme Court Shuts Down First Week of Early Voting in Ohio - Less than 24 hours before the start of Ohio's would-be voting period, the Supreme Court blocked efforts to restore a full seven days of early voting in the state, marking a win for the Republican-controlled legislature that enacted the new voting restrictions. The Supreme Court's order offered no opinion or explanation, but Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer would have ruled differently. . . .
 
9/30/2014 Georgetown Alumni Call Out University for Not Allowing Reproductive Rights Protests - Over 200 Georgetown University alumni have sent a letter to university President John J. . . .