Wal Mart case study
Are the ethical issues faced by Wal Mart different from other large retailers?
No; most of the ethical issues faced by Wal Mart are not different from those faced by other large retailers. The issue of employees’ wages is common in most large retailers. Mostly, employees in large retailers complain of poor wages. In Wal Mart employees complain that they were not paid for overtime work. In the year 2000, Wal Mart employees claimed that they had worked for Wal Mart without receiving any compensation.
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Additionally, it had failed to compensate workers who had worked during their scheduled break. Working condition has been another issue faced in the largest retailer. Often, workers complain of poor working conditions. Wal Mart employees complained that their store managers sometimes would lock them in the stores and force them to finish particular tasks before leaving for home.
Studies indicate that Wal Mart stores managers are demoted or dismissed if the store goes over the target payroll expenses. The poor health care plan has been an ethical issue in most retailers. In Wal Mart employees complained that new employees were made to wait for long before they could enroll in its health benefits plan. Also, its employees who had retired were not eligible to be part of the health benefits program.
Wal Mart’s annual health coverage for employees in 2002 was 40% lower than the average for all companies in the United States. A survey done indicated that ten thousand children whose parents worked for Wal Mart were not part of Wal Mart health coverage plan but a different generous health plan.
Wal-Mart officials have stated that they do not feel that women are interested in management positions at the company. Do you agree or disagree?
I disagree with Wal Mart officials because; in a study done in 2002, Wal Mart appears to neglect women employees. 65% of Wal Mart employees are women but out of all managers, only 33% of them are women. Women are paid 6.2% less than their male counterparts for similar jobs. Most of the highest-ranked positions in Wal Mart are owned by men. 89.5% of cashiers, 79% of department heads, 37.6 of assistant store managers, and 15.5% of store managers in Wal Mart are women.
This is a clear picture that top ranks are held by men. There are claims that Wal Mart does not give every employee a chance to apply for management positions and qualifications are based on favoritism. A Wal Mart manager was quoted saying that men were promoted instead of qualified women because men had an obligation of supporting their family. This statement from Wal Mart senior management personnel is a clear indication of women’s neglect which has been going on at the retailer.
Wal Mart is continually criticized for its health care policy. Is this an ethical issue? Why or why not?
Health care policy in Wal Mart is an ethical issue because it has been experiencing challenges in this sector. Studies done in 2002 show that Wal Mart new employees had to wait for half a year before they could enroll in their health benefits plan. Wal Mart employees who had retired were not eligible to be part of the health benefits program. Health coverage on its employee was 40% less than average for all companies in the United States and 30% lower than average in the retail industry. Studies in 2004 indicated that 16% of employees in Wal Mart had no health insurance coverage. It was brought to attention that Wal Mart employees registered with other insurance plans because they were more affordable compared to Wal Mart health plan.
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Should Wal Mart be concerned about the unionization of stores since allowing unionization of workers in China?
Yes; it should be concerned because Wal Mart employees in other countries may require to be granted the same rights to form a union as their counterparts in China. One of the major reasons why Wal Mart has been against employees forming a union is that it has an open-door policy which allowed its employee to present their grievances freely and it did not see the purpose of the workers union. With the move of unionization of Wal Mart workers in china, all other workers in various countries are in a position to demand the same right.