Lawsuit accuses retail behemoth of forcing female employees to wear men’s pants or buy their own
Female delivery drivers are taking Walmart to court over their uniforms, saying the retailer’s one-type policy for company-provided trousers definitely doesn’t fit all and discriminates against them.
A lawsuit that was filed this week in US District Court in Alabama alleged that Walmart’s company-provided uniforms come with men’s pants for all drivers. Women are forced to either wear the ill-fitting pants or buy and launder their own trousers, which must comply with the company’s uniform guidelines.
The case was filed on behalf of a driver named Diana Webb and seeks class-action status, which would allow other employees who are in the same situation to join the suit. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cleared the way for Webb to sue after declining to further investigate a complaint that she filed with the agency.
“For female drivers, it is impossible to wear the men’s pants provided by Walmart specifically made to fit only male employees due to anatomical differences between the sexes,” the lawsuit claimed. “Female drivers are therefore required to either suffer discomfort, or purchase and launder their own pants, out of their own pocket, with no option for reimbursement, in order to fulfill Walmart’s employment requirements.”
Walmart provides dry-cleaning and laundering services only for company-issued uniforms – not the pants that female drivers have to buy for themselves, Webb alleged. The nationwide policy of providing pants that fit only men is “blatant sex discrimination by Walmart against its female drivers,” the lawsuit said.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told McClatchy News that no employee is required to wear company-provided pants. “Walmart is committed to providing our private fleet drivers with various clothing options to meet our guidelines,” Hargrove said.
Webb said she complained to supervisors about the policy and asked that she be reimbursed, and she was told that the company would have to do the same for all female drivers if it covered her uniform costs. The lawsuit asks the court to order Walmart to treat male and female drivers equally and to reimburse women for the uniform costs they’ve already incurred.
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