|New Wal-Mart Policy Protects Gay Workers
||Managing Human Resources
| Key Words
||Discrimination, gay and lesbian employees
Wal-Mart’s decision to
expand its antidiscrimination policy to protect gay and lesbian employees
was first disclosed by a Seattle gay rights group. The group had invested
in Wal-Mart and then lobbied the company for two years to change its policy.
Under the new policy, gay employees are protected under rules that prohibit
Wal-Mart officials stated that the most important factor in their decision
was a letter to senior management officials about six weeks prior from
several gay employees, saying that they felt excluded.
In the past, Wal-Mart has been careful not to alienate its conservative
customers by refusing to sell racy men’s magazines and to partially
obscure the covers of four women’s magazines in checkout lines.
It has also refused to sell CDs with labels warning of explicit lyrics.
With Wal-Mart’s new policy, 9 of the 10 largest Fortune 500 companies
now have rules barring discrimination against gay employees. The exception
is Exxon Mobil Corporation, who in 1999 revoked its policies of providing
medical benefits to domestic partners of gay employees and including sexual
orientation as a category of prohibited discrimination.
Wal-Mart has no plans to extend medical benefits to unmarried couples.
Among the Fortune 500 companies, 197 provide medical benefits to domestic
partners, and 318 have antidiscrimination policies that include gay employees.
The Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination
in the workplace. Why do companies also need to have their own antidiscrimination
Define domestic partnership for the purpose of health
Is there a negative side for a company to providing
or receiving health benefits for a domestic partner? Explain.
Wal-Mart Policy Protects Gay Workers," The New York Times,
July 2, 2003..
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