Wal-Mart told to drop 'no flirting' code of conduct
17 June 2005, WUPPERTAL - International retailing giant Wal-Mart has been ordered to drop key parts of its employee code of conduct in Germany, including a ban on flirting between supermarket staff.
17 June 2005
WUPPERTAL - International retailing giant Wal-Mart has been ordered to drop key parts of its employee code of conduct in Germany, including a ban on flirting between supermarket staff.
An industrial tribunal in the western city of Wuppertal ruled the provisions were in breach of worker rights. A tribunal spokesman confirmed on Thursday the ruling earlier this week after it had been reported in the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland.
Wal-Mart, the world's biggest grocer, was also ordered to shut down a telephone 'ethics hotline' which could be rung to report breaches. A union said it encouraged tattle-tales.
The code not only banned affairs, but any flirtatious behaviour on the job including "sexy glances" and "double-entendre jokes". Judges said an employer could not regulate the private relationships of its staff.
Wal-Mart distributed the 28-page list of rules with February pay- slips in Germany, prompting a challenge by the trade union Ver.di.
The company defended the code, telling judges it aimed at preventing both sexual harassment and exploitation by senior staff.
The US company has about 90 stores in Germany. Business reports say it has struggled to make a profit in Germany, where supermarket margins are tight and there is fierce competition from discounters.
Subject: German news