An Alabama woman who works as a delivery driver for Walmart is suing the company in a federal class action lawsuit, alleging the giant retailer provides work pants and laundry services for men but not for female truckers.
Diana Webb says that Walmart offered to provide her work uniform when she went to work at the company’s distribution center in Cullman in July 2020. The company gave her shirts that fit, she said, but only offered pants and shorts in men’s sizes and designs.
Webb said she bought her own women’s pants, but the company declined to reimburse the expenses.
“I told them this is not fair,” she said in a phone interview with AL.com on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after her lawsuit was filed. “I told management I feel discriminated against.”
Walmart did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
Walmart requires male and female delivery drivers across the country to wear a uniform or face termination, according to Webb’s lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in federal court in the northern district of Alabama.
The company provides pants designed to fit men, according to the lawsuit, but does not provide pants designed to fit women, and will not reimburse female employees who purchase their own. Walmart provides laundry services for the clothes designed to fit men, the lawsuit says, but will not launder clothes female drivers buy on their own.
“This is blatant sex discrimination by Walmart against its female Drivers,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit asks that a federal judge bar Walmart from treating the female delivery drivers differently from the men, repay the women for their uniform costs and order the company to pay damages, court costs and attorneys fees.
Webb, who lives in Madison County, said she decided to pursue legal action after the company failed to address her complaints about the practice. She also filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
“I just felt it wasn’t right,” she told AL.com. “I do the same job as any other driver out there. So does every other woman.”
Webb’s 13-page lawsuit accuses Walmart of sexual discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The lawsuit is a class action, filed not only on behalf of Webb, but also on behalf of any other female truck drivers nationwide who have been forced to purchase their own pants or wear men’s pants to meet Walmart’s uniform policy.
Eric Artip, the Huntsville attorney who filed the lawsuit, said Walmart should reimburse Webb $300-$400 for the cost of work pants she purchased and laundered.
“It’s not a lot of money, but if you’re making the women pay it and not making the men pay it, that’s not fair,” said Artrip. “The law requires that people be treated equally. It doesn’t require Walmart to pay for the uniforms. But what it does requires is Walmart treat the men and the women the same and that’s all we’re asking for.