Court Takes Wal-Mart Disability Case
Washington, D.C. An Arkansas woman who claims Wal-Mart Stores Inc. discriminated against her after she became disabled has successfully appealed her case to the Supreme Court.
The justices said Friday they would rule on a lawsuit by Pam Huber, who remains a Wal-Mart employee. The case centers on how far employers must go under the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate disabled employees.
Specifically, the dispute is over whether Wal-Mart was required to provide Huber with an equivalent position after she could no longer perform her job due to disability, or whether the company simply had to allow her to compete for an equivalent job.
Huber was an order-filler in a Wal-Mart distribution center in Clarksville, Ark., earning $13 per hour, when she was hurt in April 2001 in an on-the-job accident. The company agreed she was disabled and no longer able to perform her current job.
Huber applied for a new job as a router, which paid $12.50, but the position was given to another employee Wal-Mart considered more qualified. Huber was offered a janitorial position that paid $6.20 an hour, her lawyers said in court papers.
Huber sued in June 2004, arguing that under ADA rules, she only had to be qualified for the equivalent position, not the most qualified, and should have been reassigned to the router job.
Wal-Mart said in court papers that the job went to the most-qualified candidate under a “standardized, legitimate, and non-discriminatory” process that is allowed under ADA rules.
Watts jumping to QVC from Wal-Mart
WEST CHESTER, Pa. Former Wal-Mart merchandising evp, Claire Watts is joining QVC on Jan. 7, 2008, and will assume the role of president of U.S. Commerce, effective May 1, 2008, QVC announced today.
Watts was with Wal-Mart for the past ten years, serving in a variety of positions, including most recently as evp of merchandising. She has also held executive positions at The Limited, Lands’ End and the May Company.
In her new position as president of U.S. Commerce, Watts will oversee planning, programming, merchandising, broadcasting, TV sales, and QVC.com for the U.S. operation.
“Claire brings a wealth of experience from multiple sectors of retailing and has an in-depth understanding of consumers,” said QVC’s president and ceo, Mike George, to whom Watts will report. “Her ability to lead in an open, honest, values-based environment, combined with her innovation and creativity, will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the QVC business.”
Saks reports 25.7% monthly comps increase
NEW YORK Saks today announced that owned sales totaled $347.6 million for the four weeks ended Dec. 1 compared to $275.3 million for the four weeks ended Nov. 25, 2006, a 26.3% increase. Comparable-store sales increased 25.7% for the four-week period.
On a year-to-date basis, for the ten months ended Dec. 1, owned sales totaled $2.6 billion compared to $2.2 billion for the ten months ended Nov. 25, 2006, a 16.5% increase. Comparable-store sales increased 14.5% for the ten-month period.
According to the company, its strongest categories for November were women’s shoes; handbags; fine jewelry; men’s accessories, shoes, and apparel; women’s “gold range” apparel; fragrances; and outerwear. The weakest categories at Saks Fifth Avenue for November were Salon Z (women’s large sizes), designer eveningwear, bridal, and cosmetics.