From Dan Frosch, The New York Times:

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. – A small group of West African men who came to the Rockies in search of economic opportunity are embroiled in a dispute with Wal-Mart, accusing it of a raft of discriminatory actions. Most say they were dismissed because supervisors wanted to give their jobs to local people in need of work.

Wal-Mart, which has a history of discrimination and labor complaints but has increased efforts to promote diversity at its stores, denies the accusations.


In complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the 10 men said they had all worked for Wal-Mart for a few years, mostly without incident, at a variety of jobs at three stores in Avon, Glenwood Springs and Rifle.


In January 2009, six complainants said, a new manager at the Avon store called a meeting of workers – virtually all West African – and said: “I don’t like some of the faces I see here. There are people in Eagle County who need jobs.”

Three other men, who worked at the Glenwood Springs store, said in the complaint that an assistant manager there, also new, had made a similar comment at a meeting of mostly West African workers.

One of them, Mamadou Sy, said in his complaint: “Directing himself towards the West Africans present, he said, ‘Wow, there are a lot of Africans, and I don’t like some of the faces I see here.’ We felt as if he was threatening us.”

Most of the employees said they had been repeatedly disciplined for not meeting production requirements. Eventually, they were fired. Most of the workers had never been reprimanded before, and non-African workers were not subject to the same criticism, they said.

Continue to the full article at The New York Times website.