A small group of West African men who came to the Rockies in search of economic opportunity are embroiled in a dispute with Wal-Mart, accusing it of a raft of discriminatory actions. Most say they were dismissed because supervisors wanted to give their jobs to local people in need of work.
In January 2009, six complainants said, a new manager at the Avon store called a meeting of workers–virtually all West African–and said: “I don’t like some of the faces I see here. There are people in Eagle County who need jobs.”
Three other men, who worked at the Glenwood Springs store, said in the complaint that an assistant manager there, also new, had made a similar comment at a meeting of mostly West African workers.
All 10 complaints also stated that West African workers, who are Muslim, were refused short prayer breaks. White and Hispanic workers, they said, were permitted unscheduled cigarette breaks.