Sunday, November 25, 2018

Walmart: Discrimination Against Pregnant Women (2018)

Image result for Walmart logo
The Walmart Logo
Walmart has been around since 1962, when they opened their first store in Rogers, Arkansas. The man behind Walmart is Sam Walton, he wanted to create a store with “great value and great customer service” (Corporate Walmart). Mr. Walton just wanted to open up a “dime store” due to his experience in the retail industry. Little did he know how well his store would do and what Walmart would become. 
Walmart has been discriminating against pregnant women for years, but no one has come out about it until recently. Recently, pregnant women have been bringing up lawsuits against Walmart. Walmart is unfairly punishing these women due to them being pregnant. Walmart is doing this because pregnant women are not as productive as the employees who are not pregnant, due to them getting sick from the pregnancy or having restrictions. Walmart’s reputation is at stake for being a more family-oriented establishment that welcomes all and helps families. Four women have brought lawsuits against Walmart recently. Two are from New York, one from Wisconsin, and the last one is from Illinois. 
Image result for pregnant woman discriminated at walmart
Leigha Klopp and her family
One of the woman, Leigha Klopp a woman who became pregnant on accident from New York.  Leigha was having a difficult pregnancy and kept having to make doctor appointments and going to the hospital. She was with significant pain due to the mass amounts of pain she was in and thinking she was miscarrying. Each time she had to go to the hospital or an emergency doctor’s appointment she would have to call out of work. Each time she called out she was assessed a point. Each time, points were assessed for these very legitimate reasons. Later with her pregnancy the doctor ordered bedrest, this meant an extended leave for Leigha from Walmart. Walmart then fired her. Walmart put her in the predicament to choose between taking care of herself and her unborn child, or to keep her job, and put her health at risk. Another woman Alyssa Gilliam, worked in the warehouse at Walmart. She requested lighter work since she could not due all the heavy lifting she used to be able to do before she was pregnant. Walmart denied her request for lighter work. Alyssa took them to court. Walmart tried to deny the claim against them in Illinois, but the federal judge refused to drop the claim.
A stakeholder is an individual that is impacted by any outcomes of what happens in a company. There are many stakeholders in this controversy, but the biggest stakeholder is the companies employees. The company needs to keep its employees happy in order to make sure that the consumers will be happy. The other stakeholders are the pregnant employees, unborn child, and supervisors. 
Image result for pregnant woman discriminated at walmart
Pregnant Women's Rights
Related image
A protestors sign about pregnant women's rights
Individualism would see Walmart as unethical. The individualism theory is the ideals of managers doing everything they need to do in order for a company to maximize profits, but need to do so within the law.  An individualist would not agree with the firing of pregnant women because the company loses productivity. They would have to have managers train new staff members and hire individuals. Hiring and training people takes a lot of time out of a managers day. They also would not support the firing of pregnant women due to it being against to laws. One is the American Disabilities Act and the other is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. They both say it is against the law to discriminate against a pregnant women, and that they should not be denied against lighter work. Therefore, an individualist would not be okay with how the company has been operating with this controversy.

A Utilitarian would find Walmart's actions unethical. Utilitarianism theory is when a company is trying to maximize long term happiness with there actions.  A utilitarian would find it unethical because it causes individuals to be distraught and unhappy. It might upset other women to hear about this controversy because it goes against their rights. Walmart's employees are 57% females, and 43% males (National Organization for Women). Therefore, the majority of Walmart's employees are females. A Utilitarian would be upset by this due to the majority of their employees could be upset about their rights being violated if they were to get pregnant. It will discourage them to want to get pregnant because they would not want to lose their jobs. If they lost their jobs they would not be able to provide for their families.
A Kantian would also find Walmart to be unethical. Kantianism is the theory of being the most rational. In Kantianism there are four principles; let other people make decisions, help them act rationally, but don't make the decisions for them, and act in good will (Dr. Salazar's notes). A Kantian would think that the company was acting irrational for firing pregnant women just for missing work , or needing to do lighter work. It goes against the principle of good will, meaning that the companies actions were not rightly motivated. The women who got fired were not missing work just to miss work they had actual excuses, and notes from doctors to prove it. Therefore, a Kantian would find it very unethical and would not agree with how the company is treating these women.
Virtue Theory
In Virtue Theory there are four main virtues. They are courage, honesty, temperance/self-control, and justice/fairness. The supervisors and individuals in the company who knew this was going on did not have courage. They should have stood up for these women and realized it was wrong to treat them like this. They cared about maximizing a profit for the company and keeping their jobs. They were not honest towards these employees, the company treated them unfairly by not accepting their doctors notes. The company also did not have temperance. They had unreasonable expectations for these pregnant women. It is very unreasonable to be asking a pregnant women to do all the heavy lifting she was doing before she was pregnant. Finally, it is against justice, due to the company having unfair practices. Therefore, Virtue Theory would find the company unethical.

These facts and analyses are based on an original research paper by Jen Chamberland

Works Cited

McDermot, Meaghan M. “Your Baby or Your Job? Former New York Walmart Employees Allege Pregnancy Discrimination.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 29 July 2018,

“Our History.” Walmart Corporate,

Romo, Vanessa. “Federal Commission Sues Walmart For Alleged Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees.” NPR, NPR, 21 Sept. 2018,

“Walmart Descriminated against Pregnant Employees, Lawsuit Says.” The Washington Post, WP Company,

No comments:

Post a Comment