Friday headline roundup

Wal-Mart’s bizarre self-defense: Retailer defends activists’ firings to Salon (Salon, 11/29/2013)

But Wal-Mart’s most frequent, and most peculiar, way of defending the firings has been to draw a distinction between punishing workers for striking, and punishing workers for not showing up to work during a strike. “No associates were disciplined for participating in any specific protests,” spokesperson Kory Lundberg e-mailed in June, but “we applied the time and attendance policy to the individual absences in the same way we do for other associates.” Asked at the time about that line of argument, Liebman noted, “The case law doesn’t sustain that as a valid defense.”


Wal-Mart pays lawyer fees for dozens of executives in bribery probe (Reuters, 12/4/2013)

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  is paying for lawyers to represent more than 30 of its executives involved in a foreign corruption investigation, according to people familiar with the matter, an unusually high number that shows the depth of the federal probe.


Wal-Mart should lead in ethics, not just compliance (The FCPA Blog, 12/4/2013)

Wal-Mart’s s stores, its global supply chain, its brand name and its status as the icon of business success affect the lives of literally millions of people in hundreds of nations around the world, many of them terribly poor, or the “working poor,” or in the rising, struggling middle class. These people hate corruption, and they want change. Wal-Mart should acknowledge its role and responsibility for the change desperately desired by its stakeholders. Wal-Mart’s failure to become transparent, to engage in a dialog, is troublesome. So far, the company has only been reactive to the demands of the criminal justice system and media damage control.


Wal-Mart has data on most U.S. adults, and could sell it, charges report (Salon, 12/3/2013)

Wal-Mart may have consumer data on over 60 percent of U.S. adults, shares such data with over fifty third parties, and maintains a privacy policy with “extraordinarily broad latitude in how it gathers, stores, and utilizes information on consumers,” according to a new report from three progressive groups. “We estimate that Walmart currently has data on more than 145 million Americans,” write the authors, “and, thanks in part to sustained lobbying by Walmart and other online marketers, they are able to continue to gather more data, in new ways, every day with minimal oversight.”

What do you think?