Hometown: Norman, Okla.
Employed by Wal-Mart, Inc., Nov. 21, 1991- Oct. 29, 1999, in Dallas and Lubbock, Texas; Yuba City, Vacaville, Sacramento and Riverside, Calif.; and Las Vegas, Nev.
Stephanie Odle was hired by Wal-Mart as an hourly associate to work at the Sam’s Club in Lubbock, Texas, in 1991. She was successively transferred to Sam’s Clubs in Dallas, Texas; and Yuba City and Vacaville, Calif. While employed at the Vacaville Sam’s Club in 1994, she was promoted to assistant manager and was assigned to the Sam’s Club in Roseville, Calif., as a manager-in-training. She then was assigned to the Sam’s Club in Sacramento, Calif., where she worked as an assistant manager. She subsequently was transferred to Sam’s Club stores in Riverside, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and back to Sacramento.
In October 1998, Odle was transferred to the Sam’s Club in Sherman, Texas. While there, she was led to believe by the regional director of operations, who was in charge of the Wal-Mart Region covering Texas and Oklahoma, that she would be promoted to co-manager of the Sam’s Club store in Tulsa, Okla. However, in 1999, she was suspended for five days by the Sherman Sam’s Club management over a legitimate refund she had made to a customer. In May 1999, Odle was informed by the Sherman Sam’s Club management that she would not be promoted to the co-manager position at the Tulsa Sam’s Club, and that the position was being given to a male manager from Florida.
The male managers at the Sherman Store then denied her access to the Sherman Sam’s Club employees and ordered her, against her wishes, to transfer from the Sherman Sam’s Club to a Sam’s Club in Lubbock, Texas. She followed their orders and moved to Lubbock so that she could continue her employment as an assist manager for the Lubbock Sam’s Club store. There, she performed her duties in an exemplary fashion and regularly informed the store’s general manager that she wanted to be promoted to co-manager or store manager of a Sam’s Club store as soon as such a position became available.
In early October 1999, Odle learned that the three other assistant managers at the Lubbock Sam’s Club, all of whom were male, were being given a skills assessment test. Taking the test is a critical step in the Sam’s Club process of promotion to either co-manager or store manager. She asked the store’s general manager to give her the same opportunity to take the skills assessment test. Her request was denied and the general manager informed her that he only had three tests and they were being given to the three male assistant managers. She then complained to the Lubbock Sam’s Club store management that she was denied taking the test because she was female.
That same month, Odle was training three hourly Sam’s Club employees with respect to a new store procedure. During the training, a $13.74 accounting adjustment occurred. Odle notified accounting and the acting general manager of the adjustment, and neither expressed any concern. Two days later, even though management at the Lubbock Sam’s Club store knew that the cash register discrepancy was a harmless training adjustment causing no loss to the company, Odle was suspended and placed on administrative leave. A few days later she was terminated. Odle later learned that a male manager in a Phoenix, Ariz., Sam’s Club had departed for Lubbock to replace her before her alleged “violation of company policy.”
On Oct. 22, 1999, Odle filed a charge of discrimination against Sam’s Club with the El Paso Area Office of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and then filed amended EEOC charges on Jan. 4, 2000, and April 3, 2000. In May 2001, the EEOC issued a notice of right to sue on these charges. Odle’s actions ultimately resulted in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., national class action lawsuit being filed with her as one of the original named plaintiffs. Following the June 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling establishing new guidelines for class action employment discrimination cases, Odle, as a named plaintiff , on October 28, 2011, filed a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores’ Texas Regions in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division asserting gender discrimination with respect to promotion. An amended complaint expanding the class action to include gender discrimination with respect to equal pay and adding six additional named plaintiffs was filed in that court on Jan. 19, 2012.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Employed by Wal-Mart, Inc., 2001 - 2008, in Houston
Alesia Thurston was hired by Wal-Mart in 2001 to be a customer service manager in a Houston store. Soon after, she became the lead in the store’s dry grocery department. While she should have received a raise in pay along with this change in position, she was told by her assistant that she had to learn to use a hand-held inventory device before receiving a pay increase. Men hired to do the same job received a raise without being required to learn to use the inventory device.
Thurston later learned that a male lead in another department in the same store who had similar or less experience at Wal-Mart took a leave of absence and when he returned was given a pay raise to $11 per hour when he returned. This was at least a $1 more per hour than she was earning. She later asked her store manager why the men were being paid more than the women at the store, but the male manager refused to give her an explanation.
During her entire time at Wal-Mart, Thurston knew of only one other woman department lead at her store, all the rest were men. Furthermore, the store’s assistant manager gave her and the other woman department lead a list of tasks to complete before they could receive a merit raise, yet none of the male department leads were required to do this.
Thurston resigned from Wal-Mart in 2008 because she believed her pay was not equal to male employees in comparable positions. In December 2011, she filed a charge of discrimination against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and joined the Odle, et. al. v. Wal-Mart class action in Texas as a named plaintiff.
Hometown: Floresville, Texas
Employed by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 1985 – 2004, in Floresville, Pleasanton, and San Antonio, Texas
Celia Diane Trevino was hired by Wal-Mart to be a cashier in a Floresville, Texas, store in 1985, and after a few months was promoted to department manager. In 1988, she transferred to a Pleasanton, Texas, Wal-Mart store where she was promoted to assistant manager. In 2000, she returned to the Floresville store, where she applied for a store manager position. She was never interviewed for the position, which went to a less-qualified male applicant.
Trevino was told by her supervisors that she could increase her chances of advancement if she agreed to transfer to take on training project for new hires at an El Paso, Texas, Supercenter store. She transferred to the San Antonio store in 2002. Between 2002 and 2004, she twice applied to become co-manager, but was never interviewed for the position. Both times, the positions were given to male applicants with less experience. Her district manager for the Floresville and San Antonio stores encouraged her to apply for promotions, but then refused to interview her when she applied.
Having been trained to train other managers at the Wal-Mart home office in Bentonville, Ark., Trevino often trained male managers who ended up becoming store managers. Meanwhile, she was passed over for the position, even though she had more experience and had worked at Wal-Mart longer.
Despite working for 15 years as a Wal-Mart assistant manager, receiving high performance evaluations, continuously stating her interest in getting her own store on her evaluations, and expressing her desire to co-manage or manage a store to her supervisors, Trevino continued to be passed over for less-qualified male applicants – some of whom she had trained at the Supercenter store.
As an assistant manager, she saw the pay rates of male department managers and assistant managers for the stores in her area and noticed that female managers were being paid less than male managers.
Trevino resigned in 2004, believing that she would not receive equal pay or an opportunity to advance further at Wal-Mart. She is now a store manager at another retailer. In December 2011, she filed a charge of discrimination against Wal-Mart with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and joined the Odle, et. al. v. Wal-Mart class action in Texas as a named plaintiff.
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Employed by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 1997 – 2007, in Ruidoso, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas
Elise Dominguez was hired by Wal-Mart in 1997 to work as an hourly associate at a store in Ruidoso, N.M. In 2003, she was told that her opportunities for career advancement would be greater in Texas, so she transferred to a store in El Paso. Rather than offering her promotion opportunities, however, her hourly pay was reduced to $9 per hour from the $10 per hour she had been making in New Mexico.
After the male department manager left the El Paso store, she was promote to department manager and given a $1 per hour pay raise, bringing her hourly rate back up to the $10 she had been earning at the Ruidoso store. She later learned that the male department manager she replaced had been paid $20 per hour. When she complained to her regional manager about the pay discrepancy, Dominguez was told “she should count herself lucky that she had even been transferred.”
After she transferred to the El Paso store, Wal-Mart started posting openings for assistant manager and between 2003 and 2006 Dominquez applied numerous times for the position, but was never interviewed. The store did not follow any procedure for interviewing, and selected only male applicants for the assistant manager position. Only after using Wal-Mart’s “open door” management policy all the way up to Wal-Mart’s then CEO Lee Scott was Dominguez promoted to assistant manager.
Following this promotion, Dominguez continued to apply for promotions to other management positions, such as co-manager and store manager, but received just one interview for a loss prevention management position, which is comparable to a co-manager position. Her interview lasted only three minutes and she did not get the position.
Believing that she would not be permitted to advance at Wal-Mart, she resigned in 2007 to become a store manager at another retailer. In December 2011, she filed a charge of discrimination against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and joined the Odle, et. al. v. Wal-Mart class action in Texas as a named plaintiff.
Hometown: Sachse, Texas
Employed by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2003 – June 2009, in Garland and Rockwall, Texas
From the time Luana Roach was hired as a cashier in a Wal-Mart store in Garland, Texas, in 2003, she made it clear that she wanted to move into management. She asked a male assistant manager in produce what steps she needed to take to be considered for the assistant manager program and was told “it’s hard for a woman to be assistant manager at Wal-Mart. Even in produce it’s hard for a woman to do the work we do here.”
In 2004, Roach was transferred to a Rockwall, Texas, store. While there, she learned that the store manager gave merit pay increases to one of her male co-workers on two separate occasions. This meant that he was making close to $11 per hour while she was making $8 per hour, despite the fact that she and her co-worker were in the same classification, in the same department, and that she was working much harder than he was. When she asked her store manager about the pay discrepancy, she was told that that employees were not to discuss pay and that she was going about being promoted “the wrong way.”
Roach was transferred to a Garland, Texas, store to train for a lead position in the deli. Once again she expressed her interest in becoming an assistant manager, but was told by the store manager that such promotions were not in his hands and that he could only make her a support manager, which was an overnight position. She took the position, but had seen men promoted directly into an assistant manager position without having to first work as a support manager.
Throughout this period, Roach repeatedly sought information from management about the criteria for becoming an assistant manager, to no avail. The Garland store manager finally told her the process – that she would first need to be recommended by her manager, and then interviewed by phone and in person. She later learned that this information should have been posted by the stores’ employee time clock and in the break room.
In 2006, Roach entered a manager training program at a Wal-Mart store in Rockwall and by 2007 was an assistant manager at a Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Garland. Once there, she applied twice for the co-manager position, but was never interviewed for the position. Instead, the position was given to a man who was less-qualified. When she spoke with her store manager about her interest in the position, she was told she would not be considered and that she “should focus on her current job and being a mother to her children.”
That same year, Roach saw the paycheck of another assistant manager and found he was paid more than she was, even though she had significantly more experience. When she asked about the pay discrepancy, she was told by her store manager that “pay structures were not to be discussed and it was none of her business.” She also was told that since the other assistant manager could not perform all of his tasks properly, she was to take on additional duties. This meant that she was doing more work than her male co-worker and being paid less.
Roach was unfairly terminated in July 2009 for allegedly leaving the store early without permission, even though she had already worked past the scheduled end of her shift. When she applied for unemployment benefits, Wal-Mart gave a different reason for her termination – that she had failed to have someone working in produce one night, a duty that was outside her responsibilities.
In December 2011, Roach filed a charge of discrimination against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and joined the Odle, et. al. v. Wal-Mart class action in Texas as a named plaintiff.
Hometown: Ennis, Texas
Employed by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2008 – present, in Ennis, Texas
Pamela Collins was hired as a floor associate at an Ennis Wal-Mart store in 2008. At the time, she had 18 years of retail experience. Approximately six months into her job, Collins applied to be assistant manager, but did not receive an interview. She then applied for the same position in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Again, she was never interviewed even though her job performance evaluations from 2008 and 2009 were “meets expectations” and her 2010 evaluation stated that she “exceeded expectations.”
Throughout her employment with Wal-Mart, Collins has repeatedly informed managers that she wanted to advance into management. She repeatedly called her regional and district managers, leaving messages about her interest in being promoted to management, but neither manager returned her phone calls.
After being denied promotion to assistant manager three times, Collins concluded that Wal-Mart would not permit her to advance into a salaried management position so in 2011 she applied to become a support manager. That position was filled by a man in his 20’s with almost no experience.
As of January 2012, Collins was on an approved leave of absence for an injury. She has been assured by Wal-Mart that she will have a job there when she returns from leave.
In December 2011, Collins filed a charge of discrimination against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and joined the Odle, et. al. v. Wal-Mart class action in Texas as a named plaintiff.
Hometown: Richmond, Texas
Employed by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 1998 – 2009, in Houston, Missouri City, and Richardson, Texas
With 12 years previous experience as a store manager at another retailer, Desiree Melchor was recruited by Wal-Mart to become an assistant manager, a job she took at a Houston store in 1998. A little more than a year after she started working at Wal-Mart, she began asking about the possibility of promotion to a co-manager position. She continued to express interest in the position over the next few years.
Although Melchor had helped to open several new Wal-Mart Supercenter stores, she continued to be passed over for the position, which consistently was given to less qualified male applicants. She also expressed her interest in promotion whenever she saw her district manager. Instead, two male co-workers were given the promotion to co-manager, despite the fact that one of the men had quit several times and then was rehired by Wal-Mart, and the other slept on the job when working the overnight shift.
In 2002, while working as an assistant manager in Missouri City, Texas, helping to expand the store into a Supercenter, Melchor again asked to be promoted to a co-manager position. She was told “they don’t promote within stores,” a statement she knew was not true. Melchor complained to her district manager and eventually was offered a co-manager position at a Houston store.
Once Wal-Mart’s electronic system for promotions became available, Melchor frequently used the system to apply for store manager positions. Despite the fact that her evaluations as co-manager were always above standard, she consistently was passed over for promotions that were given to less-qualified male applicants, many of whom had less favorable evaluations.
Melchor finally was promoted to store manager in 2005, two-and-a-half years after repeatedly being passed over for the position. She believes that the position was offered to her because she was the only person to apply. During her employment at Wal-Mart, Melchor says she was often the only female salaried manager in an entire store.
Melchor was unfairly terminated in 2009 by her market manager– eight days after she lodged a complaint of sexual harassment against him and another Wal-Mart employee. She was terminated and escorted out of the building, ostensibly because one of the store’s 400 associates had been assigned the wrong work code. Up until then, Melchor had a good work history of more than 12 years at Wal-Mart.
In January 2012, Melchor filed a charge of discrimination against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and joined the Odle, et. al. v. Wal-Mart class action in Texas as a named plaintiff.