An internal memo [read the full text courtesy of the New York Times] sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.
In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."
Eavesdropping on the evil plotting of evil bastards that you already knew were evil is still pretty disturbing. Looking past these (possibly) legal discrimination mechanisms, think about the between-the-lines communication to front-line managers: Don't hire unhealthy or old people. This is surprisingly open encouragement for discrimination. Even this "scandal" of the leaked (intentionally?) memo just burns that candle brighter, so that those managers are even more aware. Wal-Mart doesn't really care about it's reputation - they couldn't have a worse reputation, and still self-centered "bargain shoppers" flock to their stores for the cheapest prices on crap that not only screws over workers outside our country (as practically all other corporate retailers to) but also screws over our own citizens.
Wave those patriotic flags (and asinine ribbon magnets) Wal-Mart shoppers - you're helping to screw over your neighbors.