Walmart must offer to give jobs back to 16 workers it fired for missing shifts to take part in a strike, a judge has said.
Administrative Law Judge Geoffrey Carter found the workers had suffered discrimination. In a statement, Walmart said it felt the “actions were legal and justified” and that it would pursue other options to defend the company.
A group supporting the employees called the decision a “huge victory”. Most of the allegations filed by employees related to protests in 2013, when Walmart workers – backed by labour groups – travelled to the company’s headquarters to protest at a shareholder meeting.
Walmart had said the employees were fired due to unexcused absences not protected by labour law. The judge disagreed and ordered Walmart to compensate the workers for “loss of earnings and other benefits suffered as a result of the discrimination against them”.
He also ordered Wal-Mart to hold a meeting in 29 stores throughout the country to inform employees of their right to strike, and to promise not to threaten or discipline employees for doing so. Walmart has faced mounting protests over the last several years targeting its employee pay, the ability of workers to organise into a union and working conditions.
The company announced on Wednesday that it will raise the pay of 1.2 million workers, lifting its average hourly wage to $13.38 (£9.36) per hour (BBC News, 2016).