Human Resources Management Legal Issues

Walmart legal environment

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Walmart has a high standard of ethics which it tries to uphold at all times. This standard is upheld by all members of the organization including directors, suppliers, employees and contractors. The basis of this code of ethics is that it ensures that the same standards are applicable and therefore the organization is able to act ethically and in a consistent manner. This has helped the organization to have a reputation for its integrity and to act in a responsible manner that is consistent with their standards.

Since the company operates in a , there are different rules that govern each state and country meaning the business has to comply with the different cultures, laws, and customs of all its business locations. Furthermore, the laws that affect Walmart’s business continue to increase in number and complexity year in year out. This makes it difficult for the company to keep up with the laws, customs and cultures in each of its business locations. In order to deal with this, the company has an in-country or regional ethics committee that is involved with handling all laws, customs and cultures that relate to the business. This committee relays its information to the global ethics office which is then involved in creating the guiding principles for Walmart. The company’s Statement of Ethics is also developed by the Global Ethics Office in consultation with the regional and .

The set guiding principles and Statement of Ethics is then instituted and all members of the organization are required to follow it to the letter. The company also ensures that it complies to labor, health and safety, environment and immigration laws and it is required that all suppliers and contractors abide to these. This ensures that the business is operating in an from unlawfulness.

Current organizational policies and practices

Walmart has several organizational policies and procedures relating to human resources management. One is that of voluntary labor. The organization ensures that all workers working in the organization as well as their suppliers and contractors are providing voluntary labor that is free from bonded, slave, underage, child, forced, or indentured labor as per their different legal definitions. The company also takes a strong stand against trafficking of human beings.

Suppliers are required to ensure that all human resource practices and procedures that are in the law are implemented and that they manage human resources to the best of their ability by complying with laws on human trafficking and slavery. Workers employed by Walmart and its suppliers or contractors are also required to have and maintain control over all their identity documents.

Walmart also provides its employees with sufficient rest days and ensures that their working hours are consistent with those stipulate in the law. Workers are also compensated fairly with wages, benefits and overtime premiums that meet or exceed the minimum standards stipulated or as per collective bargaining agreements. Suppliers are also required to meet these standards. Furthermore, in terms of employee hiring and onboarding practices, the company ensures that employees are hired fairly and given equal opportunities. The age and legal right to work in the country are required prior to employment. The company also meets the legal standards for training, promotion, termination, and retirement which are assessed on an individual basis.

Walmart allows its employees to join trade unions provided this is done peacefully and lawfully. They are also given the right to bargain collectively. Employees are provided with a safe and that is free from occupational risks and hazards. Where the company provides dormitories and canteens for all or some of its staff, these are kept safe, healthy and to sufficient sanitary standards. Environmental laws such as waste disposal, toxic substances and hazardous waste disposal, air emissions and discharges are also met in order to ensure the employees are provided with a safe and healthy working environment Groot & Vrielink, 1998()

Potential problems that affect organizational compliance with legal standards

New rules and legislation are always coming up and existing legislation is regularly updated. This creates the largest challenge for a global company like WalMart which has to ensure that it keeps up with changes that are happening in different states and countries. For example the rules for employees in Massachusetts are different from those in New York. This creates challenges for the organization in trying to keep up with compliance to legal standards.

Cultural change around the world is also creating challenges for compliance to legal standards since global organizations have to keep up with cultures, some of which may just be short-lived. There is also uncertainty of the global market which makes the organizations to suffer damage from changing consumer perceptions that may or may not be related to changes in their culture Delmar & Shane, 2003.

Trying to balance their reputation with these changing cultures is tricky and some organizations have had issues in gauging the importance of their reputation vs. The culture and regulatory standards of their region of operation Brush, Bromiley, & Hendrickx, 1999()

Prevention strategies that support organizational compliance, growth, and sustainability

WalMart embarks on different strategies to support its compliance, growth and sustainability. The first is that it ensures that it sets for itself goals and objectives that are tied to the legal standards for its various business locations. A good example of this is the recent campaign to reduce their emissions considerably. The company started by establishing the procedure for doing this which was supported by a large legal framework and supported by other environmental aspects. Second is the organization’s structure which involves a global ethics office and in-country or regional ethics committees which are charged with the responsibility of analyzing changes in the law and how they affect the documentation, communication and general operation of the organization. These are then documented and the necessary resources for the implementation of each new aspect detailed and presented to the global ethics office which then updates their statement of ethics and guiding principles.

The company also conducts regular audits to check for nonconformance or noncompliance to policies. This helps them to identify and maintain the highest standards of legal compliance that foster growth and sustainability. Management reviews are also important in helping to support organizational compliance towards growth and sustainability since they encourage the legal standards are upheld at all times while allowing sufficient time for changes to policy, goals and objectives to be effected.

Rationale for how these prevention strategies support organizational compliance, growth, and sustainability

These prevention strategies for WalMart help to support its growth, sustainability and compliance since they ensure that the organization is regularly aware of changes to the legislative framework around which it operates which helps it to understand the potential consequences of each law. They also help to sustain the resources available to the organization by ensuring that jobs, communities and industries are sustained through providing safe and healthy working conditions for employees, equal and fair opportunities for employees and ensuring suppliers keep the same standards as WalMart. These help to promote equity and thus improve the quality of life and well-being of the employees and community at large Shenkar, 2004.

They also ensure that there is continuous learning and development within the organization which helps to ensure compliance with regulation and reducing costs related to environmental fines or other legal battles.


Brush, T.H., Bromiley, P., & Hendrickx, M. (1999). The Relative Influence of Industry and Corporation on Business Segment Performance: An Alternative Estimate. , 20(6), 519-547. doi: 10.2307/3094110

Delmar, F., & Shane, S. (2003). Does Business Planning Facilitate the Development of New Ventures? Strategic Management Journal, 24(12), 1165-1185. doi: 10.2307/20060610

Groot, M.D., & Vrielink, M.O. (1998). Legal Theory and Sociological Facts. Law and Philosophy, 17(3), 251-270. doi: 10.2307/3504881

Shenkar, O. (2004). One More Time: International Business in a Global Economy. Journal of International Business Studies, 35(2), 161-171. doi: 10.2307/3875249