Wal-Mart plans to check out its global workforce

US retail giant Wal-Mart has announced that it is to run background checks
on all job applicants.

The world’s largest retailer – which also owns UK
supermarket group Asda – said the move would help to
identify applicants with criminal records as well as those who may have lied on
application forms.

The screening will initially apply in Wal-Mart’s US
divisions, but the company plans to expand the programme to other countries,
including the UK,
in the near future. The roll-out of the scheme starts next month, and follows a
year of pilots in stores around the US.

Working within local laws, the checks will review applicants’ backgrounds
for various criminal offences. Wal-Mart said candidates would also not be
considered for any position if they were found to have lied on their
application forms.

Meanwhile, the company has won the right to appeal against a sex
discrimination case being given class action status in the US.

A federal appeals court has agreed to hear its case against the ruling, made
by a judge in June, that around 1.6m current and
former female employees are parties to a lawsuit originally filed in 2001 by
six women.

It is alleged that Wal-Mart discriminated against women over pay, promotion
and training.

If allowed to proceed, legal experts have said it would be
one the biggest cases in history, with Wal-Mart potentially facing liabilities
running into millions.

By Daniel Thomas


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