Wal-Mart has, unsurprisingly, been the target of more lawsuits than one can count over the years. The company’s treatment of its workers and “save money at all costs” mentality has resulted in a flood of legal challenges ranging from single plaintiff suits to multi-million dollar class actions. Dukes v. Wal-Mart is of course one large example (the largest class action in American history, actually), as are the myriad wage/hour/overtime class actions the company faces.
Just as important as those large class actions, however, are the countless suits filed by individual plaintiffs – the tiny David trying to win justice over Wal-Mart’s Goliath. We at Wal-Mart Watch will be focusing on one of these stories each week, highlighting those cases that warrant further attention because of the light each sheds in its own way on how Wal-Mart does business.
Randall Nalls was employed as a “temporary remodel associate” at a Wal-Mart in Fayette, Alabama in June of 2006. During Nalls’ trial period as a temporary hire, a co-worker (Tony Gill) repeatedly used the term “n*gger” both in his presence and in reference to him with other workers. When Nalls approached his supervisor, Thomas Burks, about the incident, Burks pledged to address the issue immediately. Burks also felt it his personal duty to inform Nalls that usage of the term was acceptable for people ages 15-25 because of its appearance in the dictionary, and because of the rise of Black music and culture in society.
Burks’ method of dealing with the palpable racial tension was not limited to dismissing it, but also fueling it. On several occasions, Burke referred to Nalls as “boy” – usually in conjunction with the terms “idiot” and “dummy.” This racially hostile work environment, laden with implications of slavery and disempowerment, proved enough for Nalls to file a charge with the EEOC and slap Burk and Wal-Mart with its latest wave in a sea of Title VII claims.
A pretrial hearing has been set for August 1, 2008 in District Court, with a trial date currently set for September 15, 2008. Read below for more:
Nalls Scheduling Order
Posted by Joel Nezianya on Wednesday, July 09, 2008