AG's office aids woman in Wal-Mart discrimination case

By Cara Bailey | Jun 7, 2007

McGraw

CHARLESTON - The West Virginia Supreme Court recently refused Wal-Mart's latest appeal against a Raleigh County woman who filed a race and gender discrimination case against the retail giant.

Sheila Hall of Beckley, with the assistance of Attorney General Darrell McGraw's Civil Rights Division, was awarded $63,000 for lost pay and damages. Hall claims she was demoted because she is a black woman.

"We will not abide discrimination in West Virginia," Attorney General Darrell McGraw said in a press release about the outcome. "Corporations which come here to do business must treat their employees fairly."

Hall filed the case with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission in 2002, after she claimed she was demoted from being a department manager. According to a news release, Wal-Mart claimed Hall was demoted because of performance problems. However, the Human Rights Commission found Wal-Mart "failed to treat (Hall) in the same manner as its white, male department managers."

The HRC also found evidence that the store manager who demoted Hall had expressed trying "to avoid employing blacks at the store." Wal-Mart has since replaced that manager.

In addition to the $63,000 in damages, Wal-Mart was also ordered to reinstate Hall to a management position.

Hall claims that before she filed with the HRC, she complained to Wal-Mart management.

According to the news release, the HRC order concluded that Wal-Mart's internal investigation overlooked many of the important details and circumstances, and "failed to address the racial discrimination charge" or examine her claim that "she has been treated differently from other employees."

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