BRAD SELIGMAN (SBN 083838)

JOCELYN D. LARKIN (SBN 110817)

THE IMPACT FUND

125 University Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94710

Telephone:        (510) 845-3473

Facsimile:         (510) 845-3654

 

JOSEPH SELLERS

CHRISTINE WEBBER

COHEN, MILSTEIN, HAUSFELD & TOLL

West Tower – Suite 500

1100 New York Avenue

Washington, D.C. 20005-3964

Telephone:        (202) 408-4600

Facsimile:         (202) 408-4699

 

IRMA D. HERRERA (SBN 98658)

DEBRA A. SMITH (SBN 147863)

EQUAL RIGHTS ADVOCATES

1663 Mission Street, Suite 250

San Francisco, CA 94103

Telephone:        (415) 621-0672

Facsimile:         (415) 621-6744

STEPHEN TINKLER

MERIT BENNETT

TINKLER & BENNETT

309 Johnson Street

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Telephone:        (505) 986-0269

Facsimile:         (505) 982-6698

 

SHEILA Y. THOMAS (SBN 161403)

EQUAL RIGHTS ADVOCATES

5260 Proctor Avenue

Oakland, CA 94618

Telephone:        (510) 339-3739

Facsimile:         (510) 339-3723

 

DEBRA GARDNER

PUBLIC JUSTICE CENTER

500 East Lexington Street

Baltimore, MD 21202

Telephone:        (410) 625-9409

Facsimile:         (410) 625-9423

 

STEVE STEMERMAN (SBN 067690)

ELIZABETH LAWRENCE (SBN 111781)

DAVIS, COWELL & BOWE

100 Van Ness Avenue, 20th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone:        (415) 626-1880

Facsimile:         (415) 626-2860

 

Attorneys for Plaintiffs

SHAUNA MARSHALL (SBN 90641)

HASTINGS COLLEGE OF THE LAW

200 McAllister Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone:        (415) 565-4685

Facsimile:         (415) 565-4854

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

 

NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

 

 

BETTY DUKES, PATRICIA SURGESON, CLEO PAGE, CHRISTINE KWAPNOSKI, DEBORAH GUNTER, KAREN WILLIAMSON AND EDITH ARANA, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated,

 

                        Plaintiff,

            vs.

WAL-MART STORES, INC.,

                        Defendant

Case No. C-01-2252 MJJ

 

 

DECLARATION OF LORIE WILLIAMS

IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION

I, Lorie Williams, declare

1.         I make this statement on the basis of my personal knowledge and, if called as a witness, could and would testify competently to the facts herein.

2.         While employed by Wal-Mart, I have also used the name Lorie Waldrop.  Prior to my employment with Wal-Mart I worked briefly as a cook.  I graduated from a two-year vocational school in 1986 and received a certificate in accounting.  I started working for Wal-Mart in 1991.  I was 26 years old.  When I began working with Wal-Mart, I hoped to have a steady and stable career.

3.         I began working for a Wal-Mart Store in Collierville, Tennessee in May 1991 as a part-time sales associate in Electronics making $4.35 an hour.  Within a few months, I began working full-time in Night Receiving.  I worked in Night Receiving until I went out on maternity leave in March 1993.  When I returned from maternity leave, I went to Electronics as a sales associate.

4.         While I was working as a support manager in 1995, Store Manager Wes Grab regularly pulled me and female Assistant Manager Renee Hall aside to criticize us.  He often told us we were worthless and no good at our jobs.  I never saw Store Manager Grab pull aside male employees to admonish them in this manner.  I told Co-Manager Brenda Haynes about these incidents and she recommended I speak with District Manager Richard Wezner.  I spoke with Mr. Wezner and he told me he would look into it and get back to me.  I never heard from him about these incidents again.  After having spoken with two members of management with no response, I felt the open door had closed. 

5.         In 1996, I became the front end manager.  With no training, I was single-handedly responsible for hiring door greeters, cart pushers, over sixty new cashiers, and preparing the entire Front End in order to transition the Collierville Wal-Mart into a Supercenter.  Almost immediately, Co-Manager Doug Ayerst and new Store Manager Robert Hayes (he replaced Wes Grab in 1996) began criticizing the way in which I was managing the front end.  They repeatedly complained to me about problems in the front end but did not give me any practical management advice and often gave inconsistent instructions.  Store Manager Hayes once told me that the problem was that there were “too many damn women in the front end.”  On another occasion, Store Manager Hayes and Co-Manager Jim Belcoff pulled me aside to tell me that I needed to “whiten up [the staff of] the front end.”  Both of these statements seemed to indicate that they wanted me to stop hiring women and African-American cashiers.  When I asked why, they indicated that the staff was “intimidating” to the clientele.  I tried to explain that I did not believe this was true and that I was hiring the individuals whom I believed were the most qualified applicants.  They were unresponsive. 

            6.         In 1996, while I was front end manager, Store Manager Hayes promoted Robert Beck from bakery manager to assistant manager over the Front End.  Mr. Beck had no experience with hiring, scheduling, staff management, or working with cash registers, yet he was supposed to be my direct supervisor and supervisor over the entire front end.  I had to train him.  Eventually, I ended up completing his responsibilities because he was unable to do them.  I completed all the hiring, pay raises, scheduling, associate evaluations, customer service, and other management tasks.  Undertaking both sets of responsibilities was exhausting and extremely frustrating for me and I felt I was not receiving any management support for my efforts.  At one point, Store Manager Hayes warned me that if any cashiers were caught selling alcohol after hours or on Sundays, he would make sure I went to jail with them.  I spoke with Store Manager Hayes and Co-Manager Ayerst about my concerns but they gave me no advice or assistance and continued to complain about problems in the front end.  Shortly thereafter, in 1997, I decided to step down.  I transferred to a support manager position for a few months, and then as an associate in the Cash Office. 

            7.         In 1996 and 1997, while I was front end manager and while I worked in the Cash Office, I had access to payroll data.  I observed that a woman associate, Libby Goff, earned less than at least three male associates even though she had been with Wal-Mart for several years longer than any of them.  They were Jim Stewart, James Gibson, and Gary Lewis.  I had been told during the hiring process, during orientation by Personnel Manager Jane Switzer, and by management during all of my evaluations that I could be fired for discussing salary issues so I did not reveal this information to anyone.

8.                  In 1997, I was promoted to photo lab manager.  I was recently divorced and alone in caring for my four-year old daughter.  I believed this salaried position would provide us the stability that we needed.  As a result, I agreed to leave my daughter for two weeks in order to go to a mandatory training in Bentonville, Arkansas.  I hoped these efforts would demonstrate my commitment to Wal-Mart and assist in obtaining the management support necessary for this position.  I was wrong. 

9.                  As soon as I started in the position, Store Manager Hayes and Co-Manager Ayerst began undermining my authority over the photo lab associates, and even customers.  There were several times when I made management decisions concerning photo lab employees but Store Manager Hayes refused to back me up and I was left completely unsupported.  In addition, when customers would request illegal copies of copyrighted photographs, I would decline but Co-Managers Belcoff and Ayerst and Store Manager Hayes would disregard my decision, and the law, in order to give them copies.  On occasion, a photo machine would fall into disrepair and despite doing all I could, including fixing some machines myself, calling the correct technical support, and sending away for parts, Co-Manager Ayerst would yell at me about the broken machines.  I received no support for my management decisions and was constantly criticized for even the most minor decisions that I did make, such as the orderliness of the camera/camcorder displays and the neatness of the floor (something for which the floor crew was mainly responsible).  I spoke with the District Manager of the Photo Department Kelly [last name unknown] but she was not helpful.  She never gave me any direct advice or information about ways in which I might be able to improve the department or fix any of the machines.  At one point, Store Manager Hayes and Co-Manager Ayerst said, “This is our store” and that the District Manager of the Photo Department, Kelly, had no authority over anything.  Due to a lack of management support, I stepped down from this position in 1998.  A male employee, Kenneth Bartosiewicz, was hired off the street to replace me.  

10.              In 1998, I agreed to accept a sales associate position in the Tire Lube Express (TLE) department.  I was determined to work hard and succeed in this male-dominated area.  I worked for three years handling the register, doing customer service behind the counter, putting up stock, as well as changing tires and completing oil changes.  In my entire time in the TLE department, I never saw more than four or five women working in this 20-person department.  Most of the women were behind the counter.  I was one of two women who worked in the service department.  

11.       Throughout my time at Wal-Mart, all my evaluations were rated “Meets Expectations” or “Exceeds Expectations.” 

            12.       In 2000, I witnessed TLE Manager Joyce Moody receive abuse and mistreatment from District Manager of TLE James Harsden.  He would constantly check up on her whereabouts, he made critical comments about her medical problems, and generally talked to her and about her with resentment and anger.  I did not know why he had such a bad attitude toward Ms. Moody.   Shortly thereafter, Ms. Moody transferred to a Wal-Mart store in another state.  Male Dale Brechin, who had previously been a service technician, was promoted to her position when she left.  I was afraid to report this mistreatment because after all that I had experienced, I feared retaliation and believed that I might be the next target.

            13.       I had originally been very interested in advancing into a management career at Wal-Mart.  However, I observed, and I had been told by several members of management, that relocation was required for entry into the management training program.  Because I was caring for a young child, mostly on my own, this was not a possibility for me.  This was the main deterrent to pursuing entry into the management training program.

14.       I resigned in April 2001 while out on medical leave for diabetes.  I now care for my daughter full-time. 

 

I declare under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States and State of Tennessee that the foregoing is true and correct.

This Declaration was signed by me on ______________________, 2003, at Moscow, Tennessee.

 

_____________________________________

                 Lorie Williams