Skip top navigation Skip to content

print   email  Share

PRESS RELEASE
8-18-11

Wal-Mart Settles Sexual Harassment Suit With EEOC

Female Overnight Stocker at Midland Store Was Subjected to Repeated Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

DALLAS  — Wal-Mart Stores of Texas, LLC will pay $27,500 and furnish other relief to  settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC  charged in its suit, Case No. 7:10-CV-118 in the U.S. District Court for the  Western District of Texas, that the company violated federal law when it  subjected Paula Barstad, an overnight  stocker at a Midland, Texas, Walmart, to sexual harassment. According to the EEOC, a male security guard  sexually harassed Barstad, including unwanted verbal remarks and physical  touching. Barstad reported the  harassment to store management personnel on multiple occasions, but was  repeatedly ignored. According to the agency’s  suit, even after Barstad submitted two written complaints about the harassment,  management disregarded the reports and the sexual harassment continued.

“Sexual harassment by persons in security positions is particularly  troubling given that such positions should promote a sense of safety not only  to customers, but to the store employees as well,” said Robert A. Canino,  regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. “When complaints are not met with an  immediate response, an employee may be led to believe that a safe workplace is  not a priority for management.”

Sexual harassment violates Title  VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The  EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement  through its conciliation process.

EEOC Trial Attorney Joel Clark said, “Title  VII requires more than talking a good game about preventing harassment; it  requires the employer’s effort to take action once a complaint is made. Employers need to be proactive about  eliminating sexual harassment as soon as they become aware of it. We are pleased that Wal-Mart decided to  resolve this case early and without protracted litigation.”

In addition  to the monetary damages, the two-year consent decree resolving the case  includes injunctive relief enjoining the Midland Walmart from engaging in sexual  harassment and retaliation, and requires the store to post a notice about  sexual harassment. The consent decree  also requires the Midland Walmart to conduct anti-discrimination training for  all managers, including overnight managers, about the consequences of violating  federal anti-discrimination laws and failing to address reports of discrimination. The training will specifically explain the  steps that managers and assistant managers should take when they receive a  complaint relating to discrimination.

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is  available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.