Walmart feeling the heat as winter approaches

This is typically the season to be merry for big box retailers like Walmart, which reap enormous profits at the end of each year. The world’s largest retailer, however, now faces a number of problems related to how it treats its employees.

Only days ago, and perhaps most notably, the National Labor Relations Board determined that Walmart retaliated against employees who have properly exercised their legal rights in numerous States around the nation. In particular, according to the government, Walmart has fired or otherwise retaliated against employees for participating in actions to highlight the reportedly inadequate terms and conditions of employment as well as the corresponding need for greater workplace democracy.

If Walmart does not resolve the legal claims with employees, the government will issue a complaint and prosecute its virtually nation-wide case against the company. Walmart also continues to face class-action, multi-plaintiff, and individual cases prosecuted around the country under employment law or civil rights statutes to address alleged retaliation, harassment, discrimination, unpaid wages, or other legal violations by the company.

The legally protected protests last year concerning Walmart centered around “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, to educate the public about the working conditions to which Walmart subjects its employees. Even larger protests will occur on “Black Friday” this year, so Walmart will likely receive further negative attention about its employment practices as it responds to the expanding advocacy for workplace fairness. A recent example of this negative attention includes the media coverage about employees of a Walmart store in Ohio doing a canned-food drive to help their coworkers who cannot make ends meet while employed by Walmart. Such a demonstration of generosity and solidarity by rank-and-file Walmart employees should be a model for the company’s leadership.