CA Sam’s Club Sued over Treatment of Hispanics

April 15, 2011 ( - Sam’s Club, the wholesale chain store owned and operated by Walmart, will pay $440,000 and furnish other relief to settle a national origin harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC contends that at least nine employees of Mexican descent at the Sam’s Club in Fresno, along with one who was married to a Mexican, endured ethnic slurs and derogatory remarks by a fellow co-worker who is Mexican-American. Since late 2005, the victims were barraged with near-daily insults about Mexicans and references to Mexicans only being good for cleaning the harasser’s home, according to a press release.   

The harasser even threatened to report three of the victims to immigration authorities despite their legal status. The victims and harasser – all female – worked in the demonstration department, serving food samples to customers.  

The announcement said the victims complained about the hostile work environment to management as early as April 2006 to no avail. Instead, the complaints only intensified the harassment and led to intimidation. Another employee also began deriding a victim for her inability to speak English. It was not until after an official EEOC charge of discrimination was filed in October 2006 that Sam’s Club finally discharged the harasser in December 2006.  

As part of the consent decree Walmart also agreed to review its policies against and complaint procedures for national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation.