In 2008, an African American male customer walked into the Dickson City, Pa Walmart and approached 2 white associates he had been familiar with due to working at this Walmart. He gave one a friendly bump, saying "Sorry, didn't see you" and requested directions to the fabric department. Walmart was going through renovations.
The employee bumped began to publicly and loudly spew racist insults regarding the African Americans heritage. He continued with rude remarks regarding the African American skin color. The customer turned to the other white associate and asked why Bill would say such things? This employee chose to turn and remain silent. The incident was reported to the store manager. That day an incident report was completed by the customer. The customer allowed management to understand that the other employee was a witness to the racist remarks.
After receiving no closure from management, the customer filed charges in the local magisterial court requesting the court hold Walmart vicariously liable for the actions of its employee, to the sum of $2,000.00. Walmart's management never requested reporting information in an incident report from the witness until one month after the incident and after being served court papers. The customer represented himself in court.
Walmart's corporate office in Bentonville, Ar was informed of the racist remarks by its employee. Walmart's Global Ethics Office choose to send letters to the African American customer. The letters suggested that proper steps were taken against the employee. While on the stand, the store manager was asked, "What does Walmart's Global Ethics Office mean regarding steps taken?" Walmarts store manager and attorney did admit in court that the Global Ethics Office was actually never in contact or informed of anything and knew nothing.
Walmarts corporate office made sure the letters were untraceable. The author of the letters did not include a last name, any position held by the author, and no signature. Walmart management stated the racist remarks were "just jokes". Walmart lost the case. The customer was granted $100. Walmart appealed the decision. The customer appealed the amount granted. Walmart appealed to county court. Then, one month later removed the case from the county court to the district court. Apporximately a year had past before being appointed a judge in the district court. When appointed a judge, Walmart request the case be dismissed due to lack of subject matter.
Walmart explained that instead of discussing this case in the magisterial court, filing with the county court and filing with the district court, this case was actually to be filed over 100 miles away in Harrisburg, Pa with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission within 180 days of the incident. The case was dismissed.
NOTE: This African American customer did approach law firms in Scranton, Pa prior to filing with the magistrate. The attorneys never mentioned the PHRC, nor did they offer help or guidance. The magistrate, who is an attorney, knew the case was not for him, but for the PHRC, but never mentioned the commission.
Walmart knew this was a case for commission but was willing to circumvent the commission and discrimination laws of Pa in an attempt to win away from the commission, with the customer not being aware of the commission. By the time the case was issued a judge, the 180 days had finally past.
Walmart could have requested the magistrate dismiss the case because it was a case for the commission, but the 180 days had not as of yet past. So, utilizing good lawyering and ignorance of the commission by the customer and many others in Pa residents, Walmart remained silent until the 180 days past.
Please take note that in the entire State of Pennsylvania, there are only 3 locations a Pa resident may file a discrimination case. They are located in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Be aware. You only have 180 days to file. After that, you lose your right to be heard. Don't waste time reporting the incident to Walmart corporate office. They can't be trusted. Contact the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
CONCLUSION: I was that African American customer. I no longer do business with any Walmart or Sam Club establishment.