In $31m award, Jury finds that Walmart retaliated against worker

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In case some people don’t go to the link to read the whole thing (which is very short), the kicker is in the last paragraph: “So of course the company — which spent more than $2 million and five years fighting a $7,000 safety fine for a worker who was trampled to death on Black Friday — has said it is going to appeal the verdict.”

They’re going to try to bankrupt the pharmacist.


I’d wager that the lawyers are working for a piece of the awarded amount. I don’t think the Pharmacist is going to be out of pocket for this. Although I don’t think the payout is coming any time soon and that chunk for the lawyers will probably be 80% of the settlement.


I heard this on the local NPR station this morning, didn’t realize it was being reported on by the AP, figured it was just my local station.

New Hampshire - there are, in fact, other things happening than just the primary!


Among the plethora of things I don’t get about the States is how these fines are calculated.

Walmart had $482.2 Billion in net sales - WTF difference is a $31M award going to make? They have vendors whom they pay more than that on a quarterly basis. If the goal of the ruling is to change behavior- and if once you incorporate you’re no longer personally responsible- then these fines need to be a % of total earnings.

As should all fines. Ex: a speeding ticket of $200USD means two very different things to someone on minimum wage vs someone who makes $150k - yet isn’t the goal, with both drivers, to issue a fine as a disincentive?

How is pocket change - which $31M is to Walmart - a disincentive??


Multiply by the amount of unfair dismissal cases they might be open to? How many would be brought if the return would be $30M?


Especially in the structure of a corporate charter where all the costs are passed onto the employees and consumer instead of the owner/investors.


Screwing with the pharmacists is not a wise move. Of all Walmart employees they are the ones who hold real, highly portable professional qualifications.


Memo to Wal*Mart:

A worker who points out a safety violation is saving you money. Fixing a violation costs a few hundred dollars. Settling a suit from an injured shopper costs millions.

I understand the manager’s ego might be wounded, but there’s as much money at stake as ten thousand Barbie Dream Houses. You might consider canning the manager instead.

You’re welcome.


In this case it would have required paying living wages to deal with turnover. That gets to the heart of the mediocrity of cheapness.


I think that’s a different case. This one started with a safety violation in the pharmacy, and escalated to retaliation.

That’s the American way!!


Not disagreeing with your general point, but in this case you’re mixing up fines and awards. Two quite different kinds of potatoes.



Fair, but the $31M is a mix of “back pay”, “reward” and “punitive damages” - employee got their back pay, they also got some sort of “inconvenience/hassle” (their reward) - but the biggest portion of this (I expect, I haven’t found the exact breakdown) are the punitive damages added on top of everything else - even in cases like this a “flat % of gross income” could be used. However, I don’t necessarily think that the employee should necessarily reap a billion dollar payout that could produce. Cap the employees a X * % of their annual income (ex: 5-20yrs) and use the rest where it is needed most.

The only way to balance the scales is to take the money back from the super wealthy / mega corps. Fines/penalties being assessed as a % of income would be a good start.

If they were to risk losing a substantial portion of their financial portfolio when facing some “fines” that will all but guarantee they view the risk of breaking the law as they should and perhaps even to such an extent that they actually stop breaking the law - at least so darn regularly.

the jury awarded her $164,093 in back pay, another $558,392.87 in front pay, $500,000 in compensatory damages, and $15 million in punitive damages each for the federal and state-level discrimination claims.

So almost all punitive.

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Interestingly, the EU can in some cases fine companies with amounts based on their revenue, while it isn’t necessarily the case for member states (depending on national laws).

As for punitive damages, the very notion is quite exotic and weird to me, as it is for pretty much everyone outside of the USA.

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