Key Harrington Barnes, PC

Walmart facing lawsuit from union over store closures

Walmart is facing a lawsuit from a labor union after closing five of its stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and California. According to the National Labor Relations Board claim that was filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union on April 20, the retail giant closed the stores to retaliate against workers who were trying to organize.

The store closures that led to the employment lawsuit reportedly happened abruptly and led to 2,200 workers being laid off. Before the stores closed, workers at the five locations were given only a few hours notice that they would be laid off. One of the stores that was closed was a store in Pico Rivera, California, where Walmart workers had gone on strike for the first time in the company's history. Although the union claims that the store closures were retaliatory, Walmart says that the stores were closed temporarily due to plumbing issues.

The union representing Walmart employees is asking the NLRB to impose an injunction that will require Walmart to rehire all of the people who were laid off. The allegations that were made by the union are being investigated, but it could be several months before an NLRB administrative law judge makes a decision in the case.

Employment litigation like this can do a lot of damage to a company's public image whether or not a union's claims end up being substantiated by the court. For most businesses, preventing litigation is a better option than letting disputes end up in a courtroom. An attorney may be able to help a company to negotiate settlements outside of court and prevent the potential for protracted litigation.

Source: RH Reality Check, "Did Walmart Close Stores to Retaliate Against Employees?," Jessica Mason Pieklo, April 24, 2015

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