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EEOC Discrimination Suits Hit Distribution Centers Run by Walmart, Albertsons and Big Lots

Recent actions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission serve as a wake-up call to distribution center and warehouse management. Gender bias was a common theme in two of the suits.

(Boonton, NJ, May 13, 2010) — If your distribution center engages in discriminatory hiring practices or fosters a hostile work environment, it could be subject to time-consuming lawsuits, costly settlements, and unflattering headlines.

The May issue of industry newsletter Distribution Center Management, looks at three recent actions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to see where DCs are running afoul of the law.

The newsletter also offers advice from Michael Soon Lee, president of EthnoConnect. Among other things, he recommends that DC management train for diversity.

As shown by the swastikas and epithets at the Albertsons DC, and by the racial slurs at the Big Lots DC, not every employee recognizes what's appropriate and what isn't. "You may have to educate them on the basics," Lee says.

In addition, be certain hiring rules make sense. Were women really unable to do the job at the Walmart DC in Kentucky? Female applicants didn't believe so, and neither did the EEOC. "Be sure that whatever restrictions you have are real," Lee says. "If you find that some rule is screening people out, you need to take a look at it."

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For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.

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