Justice Department Announces Settlement with Walmart Over Discrimination Claim by Naval Reservist
Walmart Agrees to Amend National Hiring Practices to Protect Military Members
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today the resolution of a lawsuit in which Naval Petty Officer Third Class Lindsey Hunger alleged that Walmart violated her rights when it failed to offer her employment at the Walmart store located at 2545 Rimrock Avenue in Grand Junction, Colorado because of her upcoming Naval Reserve commitments. Ms. Hunger had alleged that Walmart’s actions violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and United States Attorney’s Office represented Petty Officer Hunger in the lawsuit.
As part of the settlement, which includes backpay for Petty Officer Hunger, Walmart has agreed to review and revise its employment and internal hiring policies across the corporation. It has also agreed to revise the policies to include the following language: “Walmart prohibits discrimination against individuals, including applicants, based on their military service (including required military training obligations) or membership in the uniformed services.” Walmart will also ensure that “all supervisors, managers, and administrative staff” in the Grand Junction, Colorado store at issue receive training — developed in consultation with the United States —“on the requirements of USERRA and on employees’ and service members’ rights and obligations under the statute."
“Walmart is one of the nation’s largest employers and scores of dedicated servicemembers all across the United States will benefit from this settlement and Walmart’s agreement to update its employment and training practices,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “On behalf of a grateful nation, the Department of Justice will continue aggressively to enforce the federal civil rights laws on behalf of all servicemembers, including the citizen-soldiers of our National Guard and Reserve. Their sacrifice to serve should never jeopardize their ability to earn a living.”
“It is an honor to represent the men and women of our armed forces and ensure that their military training commitments do not deter employers from hiring them,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn for the District of Colorado. “By obtaining Walmart’s agreement to amend its national hiring practices, this case will have a lasting impact.”
This lawsuit stems from a complaint that Ms. Hunger filed with the United States Department of Labor, which, after an investigation by the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, referred the matter to the Department of Justice.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, and the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service all give high priority to the enforcement of servicemembers’ rights under USERRA. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department’s websites at www.justice.gov/crt-military/employment-rights-userra and www.justice.gov/servicemembers as well as on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) website at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra.
This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeyen Wu in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and Andrew Braniff from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.