Wal-Mart’s Statement of Ethics is designed on whole as a human resource to maintain dignity and respect among Wal-Mart associates and employees. This doctrine has not always been followed precisely as it is written and the results have brought much flack onto the corporation. If one were to search for any recent news brief on Wal-Mart, more than half of the article they would find would be pertaining to business ethics, or the lack thereof in the corporation. This is partly due to the fact that over the past few years, Wal-Mart has come under fire for multiple breaches of its own ethical conduct.
Do they allow anonymous reporting? In many recent cases Wal-Mart employees have found that there are gray areas within following Wal-Mart’s codes of ethics, circumstances in which if they do not break the codes then the codes will be broken to in order to validate their termination. One such instance was recently reported on in Business Week. Chalace Epley Lowry was employed with Wal-Mart as an administrative assistant, when she witnessed what she deemed as a potential violation of the ethical code.
She noticed the vice-president for corporate communications Mona Williams was copying papers that appeared as though they were related to stocks. Wal-Mart’s ethical policy on insider trading is that, If any associate has material non-public information relating to Wal-Mart, it is Wal-Mart’s policy that neither that person nor any related or other person living in that person’s household may buy or sell securities of Wal-Mart or engage in any other action to take advantage of, or pass on to others, that information (Wal-Mart 8A, 2000).
Since, Lowry believed this to be a case of insider trading, she reported case to the ethics bureau. Mona Williams was Lowry’s supervisor, so when it was found that Williams was innocent of the allegation, Wal-Mart decided to go against their own policy of anonymous reporting and they revealed Lowry’s identity to Williams. This left Lowry no choice but to ask for a transfer, of which she was unable to receive and eventually terminated from her position. This is not the only case in which Wal-Mart’s ethical conduct has been questioned.